Market participation among smallholder livestock farmers has been recognized as a poverty reduction strategy. In recent years small livestock, specifically sheep and goats, started to receive growing attention. These small ruminants are accessible to households and individuals who do not have the capacity and means to keep and trade in larger livestock. Goats have a unique potential to alleviate poverty and ensure food security even under harsh climatic conditions. However, with the growing livestock trade and market engagement, the risk for spreading infectious diseases also increases.
A two-day workshop in November 2020 Lusaka, Zambia gathered key small- ruminant value chain actors, specific to the goat value chain: farmers, traders, breeders, veterinary assistants, livestock officers, extension workers, veterinarians, researchers, government representatives working with small ruminants from city to the national level, and NGO representatives working with small ruminant production and smallholder livelihoods. This brief discusses key challenges and opportunities in goat production and important health problems to pay attention to, as perceived by each stakeholder group.
Key messages and recommendations
- To solve many of the key problems in goat production, joint efforts among value-chain actors are needed.
- To coordinate efforts and improve goat health, actors in the goat value chain need to have platforms where they can meet and discuss challenges and jointly agree on solutions and coordinate activities.
- Many of the problems listed by stakeholders in the goat value chain are easily solved with access to finance, advisory support and resources (e.g. medical supplies, grazing areas, water etc.). It is important that policy makers focus on solving these immediate problems which are likely to have a significant positive impact on animal health and production.
- Research needs to consider the diseases important to livestock farmers and other stakeholders on the ground. If research on diseases should be accepted as relevant by value chain actors, there needs to be a balance between what local actors perceive as real and current problems and diseases that are of global or regional concern.