GOAT rearing should be encouraged among small-scale farmer as a way of promoting the much-sought diversification programme to grow the economy, says former deputy minister of Agriculture Albert Mulonga.
Mr Mulonga believed that goat rearing could accelerate and grow the economy much faster, owing to the fact that goats were not prone to any known livestock diseases.
He said agriculture was one of the sectors that could impact heavily on the country’s development and needed concerted efforts from stakeholders to grow the economy.
“Goats are not prone to diseases and these are some of the animals we should look at as a country to grow the economy, and should be considered in implementing livestock diversification,” he said.
Mr Mulonga said goats had been scientifically proved that they were an important option in supplementing nutritious products that could sustain the livestock industry in case of disease outbreaks.
He said small-scale farmers were poised to reap more benefits from livestock agriculture if policy direction in the sector was implemented, adding that Government should promote goat rearing which had no known serious diseases compared to cattle and pigs.
“Promoting goat rearing will be one way of facilitating the industry because goats are some of the domestic animals that have proved to be free from contagious diseases affecting cattle and pigs in most parts of the country, and have no selective environment,” he said.
He said the Government’s effort to diversify the agriculture sector should not be restricted to crops alone, but should also include small livestock farming such as poultry, piggery and goats among others. He said livestock development was another area that showed marked growth in the agricultural sector from which the majority of the population could benefit.
Mr Mulonga said goats production should not be neglected in Zambia because it was a fast profit-making sub-sector with minimal expenditure in rearing.
He said there was need to take a commercial approach towards the rearing of goats to improve smallholder livestock production and productivity, hence enhancing household incomes.
He said goat meat was on demand in many countries, especially in Middle East countries, and could be exported to contribute to the country’s economic growth.
“Goat production has benefited families and could be relied on as goats rear twice a year, and this sector needs to be harnessed well for the benefit of this country,” he said.