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Knowledge validation and nutritional qualities of fodder trees browsed by goats in the Gumela rural area in Limpopo Province, South Africa

T.C. Kujoana
J.T. Mugwabana
T.L Tyasi
T. Chitura


In sub-Saharan Africa, goat farming has shown to be a significant intervention in the fight against poverty. However, the productivity of goats is threatened by several challenges, such as limited forage availability, especially during dry seasons when the quantity and quality decline. The study aimed to gather smallholder farmers' knowledge on the identity and nutritional qualities of fodder trees browsed by goats in the study area. Fourteen smallholder goat farmers were interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire. Botanical identification and nutritional analysis of mentioned browse plants were conducted at the Animal Production Laboratory, University of Limpopo, South Africa. Capparis tomentose, Euclea crispa and Cassine transvaalensis had higher (p<0.05) dry matter content. Ziziphus mucronata had higher (p<0.05) ash content. Maerua angolensis had higher (p<0.05) crude protein content, while Colophospermum mopane had a higher (p<0.05) energy content. Colophospermum mopane was ranked the most browsed plant (43%), whereas Ziziphus mucronata and Maerua angolensis were ranked the least browsed plants. Colophospermum mopane and Sclerocarya birrea were classified as bad sources of goat feed. Most of the identified feed materials had crude protein and energy levels higher than the recommended minimum required levels for the maintenance of essential functions of goats. Findings from this study indicate that farmers had some knowledge of the feed materials available for goat feeding, even though most farmers in the study area did not know how to determine the nutritional qualities of the available feed materials. The knowledge gathered from this study contributes to the body of literature on the use of indigenous feed resources to improve goat production, which has the potential to alleviate poverty and reduce unemployment in line with the National Development Plan 2030 of the South African government.

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eISSN: 2413-3221
print ISSN: 0301-603X