Production Systems for the Muslim Goat’s Meat Market
This paper investigates economic feasible production systems in agriculture to meet the off-seasonal demand for fresh goat’s meat in particular for Islamic religious celebrations. A goat’s meat production system based on suckling cashmere goats might also be used for preventing bush encroachment of farm pastures, meadows and mountain ranges in Norway. A market segment for goat’s meat has been identified in the growing Muslim communities in Scandinavia where people originate from countries with traditions and preferences for goat’s meat. The meat, however, has to be produced in accordance with Muslim traditions (Halal) as well as local veterinary regulations, when targeting this market segment. Marketing of modern Halal products such as pizzas, sausages and hamburgers, takes place through a separate company “Alfathi Ltd.” and the meat industry is also interesting in enhancing the production of fresh goat’s meat, in particular for Islamic religious celebrations. In the study, the economy of specialized sheep farming has been compared with that of cashmere goats using a linear programming (LP) model adapted to six sheep farms from the fjord and mountain areas of Norway. The profit in sheep farming varies considerably among the farms from about zero to € 16,000. Replacing half the sheep with cashmere goats resulted in a slightly improved profit on two of the six farms while it was not profitable on the others. The demand for goat’s meat is high when sold at equal price of lamb’s meat, but currently the market can not sustain prices necessary to make goats an interesting supplementary production on sheep farms. The number of cashmere goats kept in extensive production systems is increasing, but future development will depend on the development of the market for goat’s meat. In particular farmers with a low meat production per ewe caused by encroachment of pastures should consider goats. Unilateral sheep grazing may not be sufficient to prevent further encroachment of outfield pastures while browsing goats are more efficient. It is concluded that goat farmers should be paid a premium when keeping goats for “landscaping” purposes. Feeding the goat kids to a higher age is another measure to encourage the production system further. Problems due to EU veterinary regulations regarding removal of the spinal cord when slaughtering sheep and goats older than one year are discussed. Norwegian dairy goat production is well established and production of Halal meat on surplus dairy goat kids is also discussed.
Key words: Goat’s meat; Norway; Production systems; Halal meat; Muslims; Mountain range pastures; Farm economy
FACULTY OF AGRICULTURE SOKOINE UNIVERSITY OF AGRICULTURE, MOROGORO, TANZANIA