By Kikonyogo Ngatya
GOAT keeping is potentially one of the most lucrative ventures in Uganda. There is a ready market for their meat, skin and milk in within the country and internationally.
Most goats from Uganda, according to the National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NaLIRRI) are exported to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Kuwait and other Middle East countries.
There are ready markets for Ugandan goats in various parts of the world. But Ugandaâ€™s about 7 million goats cannot sustain the demand. There is need for more investment.
Here is what you can do to maximise returns from goat keeping. Under good management practices like keeping good hygiene for the goatâ€™s shelter and good feed, goats can offer a farmer better returns.
Ask your farmer advisory on health and hygiene of the goats, and any other such information in your locality. These are some of the breeds you can choose from.
Ask your farm advisor or NAADS coordinator in the area to advise you on selection of a breed suitable in your locality.
This breed has origin from South Africa. It has a very stocky body, strong muscles and bones. It usually has a white body with brown spots, with a 50% twins kidding rate. A mature goat averages 50-65 kg. It is valuable for meat, milk and skin production.
Named after a region in Switzerland where the breed originated. It is a medium sized, moderate in production, and has relatively low butterfat content (2-3%) in the milk.
The colour is solid varying from light fawn to dark chocolate with no preference for any shade. Distinct white markings are usaully white ears with dark spot in middle, two white stripes down the face from above each eye to the muzzle, hind legs are white from hocks to hooves, forelegs are white from knees downward with a dark line below knee, a white triangle on either side of the tail.
Wattles, small rudimentary nubs of skin located on each side of the neck, are often present in this breed.
These goats are a white or creamin colour. They are named after the Saanen valley in Switzerland. They are the largest of the goat dairy breeds. They weigh averagely 68 kg or more and the bucks weigh over 91kg.
The Saanen breed also produces the most milk and tends to have lower butterfat content, about 2.5%-3%. The Saanen temperament is as a rule, calm and mild mannered. Breeders have been known to refer to them as living marshmallows.
Saanen goats are easier for children to handle and are popular in the showmanship classes due to their calm nature.
The Alpine breed
Imported to Uganda mainly for milk production, this breed has no distinct colour. It may range from pure white through shades of fawn, gray, brown, black, red, bluff, piebald, or various shadings or combinations of these colours.
Both sexes are generally short haired, but bucks usually have a roach of long hair along the spine. The beard of males is also quite pronounced.
The Small East African
This breed has fine short hair, small horns and forward pointing ears. An adult weighs between 25- 30kg. Age for first kidding is 18 months.
This has origins from the highlands of Kabale and Bundibugyp districts. It has a small compact, short legged body. Average weight is 30 kg.
This is suitable for the highland areas of Mt Elgon in Kapchorwa and southwestern Uganda. It can withstand lower temperatures.
This breed is adapted from the Karamoja region. It is suitable for the arid areas of Kotido,Moroto,Abim districts, and Nakasongola district. It is a short haired,mainly white breed. It is a relative of the galla goats breed of Kenya.