Goat Breeding and Marketing
Although gardening yields many benefits, establishing a consistent supply of vegetables to commercial markets is difficult in colder areas, where frosts can wipe out entire harvests. The goat program addresses the need for an income source resilient not only to the rainfall pattern, but also to frost and conditional markets. Goats are hardy, in-demand animals that require less intensive methods than other livestock. Additionally, by keeping them in raised houses, their manure provides an organic fertilizer that can improve farming and gardening profit margins.
Goats are prevalent in villages throughout Southern Province; however they receive little to no management and their growth and profit remain small. We connect farmers with relevant management knowledge, regarding the topics of herding, housing, and health. With healthier goats, the farmer’s herd can reach its full potential both in size and number.
Management practices decide how much a goat grows within a range that is determined by goat's breed. Local breeds in Zambia are hardy but very small, limiting the returns they can fetch at market. SAM has a large breeding herd of “Boer” goats, a larger breed that puts on weight faster and gives birth to more kids each year. We offer this breeding stock to a growing network of farmers in our program. With each generation, the size and value of their own herds are increased. And when they sell their own breeding stock to their neighbor, they contribute to the spread of a stronger goat breed throughout Southern Province.
Currently, village goat farmers in Southern Province are poorly connected to market. Some of their most frequent buyers are marketeers from Zambia’s capital and neighbouring countries. These business men purchase goats at the roadside at miniscule prices, drive north to more vibrant markets, and sell for huge profits.
SAM is currently working with farmers to establish a farmer-operated supply chain that removes the middleman and keeps the value in the farmers’ hands. The growing network of goat farmers will soon be large enough to regularly supply their own trucks to higher-paying markets. By assisting them become familiar with logistics of such an operation, we are working towards a long-term economic boon for our goat-farming program participants.