Production performance and desirable traits of Small East African goats in semi-arid areas of central Tanzania
Livestock Research for Rural Development
Department of Animal Science and Production, Sokoine University of Agriculture, P.O. Box 3004, Chuo Kikuu, Morogoro, Tanzania; National Livestock Research Institute, P.O. Box 202, Mpwapwa, Tanzania
A study was carried out to determine the roles, desirable traits and production performance of indigenous goats in Iramba and Kongwa districts, central Tanzania. In each district five villages were selected and 93 and 100 goat keepers were interviewed in Iramba and Kongwa districts, respectively, using a structured questionnaire. Body weight, body length, rump height, withers height and heart girth of 225 goats were measured from flocks of the households surveyed. Crop and livestock production were the main enterprises undertaken by the farmers in the selected villages. Livestock production was ranked second to crop production in terms of contribution to household income and food security. The livestock kept by the farmers of the study area included cattle, goats, sheep, chicken, pigs and donkeys. In terms of importance, indigenous goats were ranked second to indigenous cattle by the respondents (61.4%). The average number of goats kept per household was 12.3 ± 0.86 and 14.9 ± 1.4 in Iramba and Kongwa districts, respectively. The main reasons for keeping goats, in order of importance, were generation of income, capital reserve and provision of meat. The indigenous goats were valued by their owners for being good tolerant to diseases, drought and heat. The goats in the study villages had small body size and average body weight of 24.5± 1.08 kg in Iramba district and 26.8 ± 0.82 kg in Kongwa district. The indigenous goats in Kongwa district had slightly higher values for wither height (59.6 ± 0.47 cm), rump height (56.4 ± 0.43 cm), heart girth (71.1 ± 0.75 cm) and body length (53.1 ± 0.54 cm) than those in Iramba district which had wither height, rump height, heart girth and body length of 58.4 ± 0.62, 55.5 ± 0.56, 68.3 ± 0.98, and 52.9 ± 0.71 cm, respectively. Average age at first kidding ranged from 14.2 to 16.8 months, average kidding interval was about eight months and average litter size was 1.2. Weaning age averaged about five months and the number of kids per does life time was between 9 and 10. Diseases were ranked by most farmers as the most important problem affecting goat production. The diseases of importance were contagious caprine pleuropneumonia, pneumonia, helminthiasis, foot and mouth disease, foot rot and mange. Shortages of grazing land, feed and water during the dry season were the other limiting factors to goat production. If productivity of indigenous goats is to be improved these problems need to be addressed through participatory research and development efforts.
Bos; Capra; Capra hircus; Equus asinus; Mycoplasma; Ovis aries; Suidae