Socio-economic and cultural functions of goats in Niger Delta of Nigeria: Implication for education of farmers
Data on the socio-economic profiles of goat keepers were collected by structured interviews from 67 respondents who were involved in keeping goats. Oral interviews were used to collect information from Christian pastors, priests, and idol worshippers on their accepted use of goats for worship. Further information on limitations of goat keeping and cultural functions of goats were collected by oral and structured interviews from the respondents. Results showed that goat keeping was not popular in the study area because the people did not cherish goat meat; they see goats as destructive, dirty, and often associated with witchcraft. Forty-six percent of the respondents practised free range, and 18 per cent confined their goats. Goats were, however, found to be widely used during burial ceremonies, marriages, sacrifices, and atonement for certain wrongdoings. Most goat keepers were in the age range of 30 to 49 (73%); while 58 per cent of them were literate, and 42% did not have formal education. Farmers in the study area need education on the diverse use of goat meat and other products to create awareness on the place of goats in meeting the nutritional needs of people in the area.