Mixed crop-livestock farming accounts for 90% of food production and is the main livelihood in the highlands of the Amhara region. Keeping goats diversifies production, creates work, increases incomes, builds capital, contributes to human nutrition, and is an insurance against food insecurity. Goats generate valuable products – meat, milk, skin, and manure. Although there are nearly 19 million goats in Ethiopia, poor nutrition, disease, and breeding programs have resulted in reduced livestock productivity.

Improving goat husbandry

Project efforts to improve goat productivity included improving feed and nutrition, health, community-based breeding, and marketing goat products. Farmers tested forage species of cactus and vetch together with low-cost forage-based feeds for fattening goats. The main diseases affecting goats, along with measures to control them, were identified. The project launched a community breeding program to characterize the goat population, select sires, and exchange breeding bucks. Ways were investigated for overcoming barriers to marketing, finding market niches, and adding value to goat products.