Date of this Version
African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, vol. 20, No. 4 (July 2020), 16220-16235
Dairy goats with improved genetics for milk production were recently introduced onto small-scale farms in Zanzibar through governmental and non-governmental projects. These projects were meant to support small-scale farmers by improving both income and household nutrition through milk production. No follow up had been conducted to understand what effects dairy goat keeping had on these small-scale farms, or how they could be improved. A survey of 193 dairy goat farmers in Zanzibar was conducted, including 30% and 60% of all dairy goat farmers on Unguja and Pemba, the two largest islands, respectively. The objective was to understand the impact keeping dairy goats has on small-scale farming systems, current husbandry practices including feed supply (production and environmental concerns), perceived benefits and challenges of dairy goat keeping (economics), and how to design appropriate extension programs to increase sustainability (education). The survey with 116 questions explored topics including dairy goat feeding practices, goat health, current milk production practices, sale and family consumption, and education. Qualitative and quantitative information from the survey led to a more holistic understanding of dairy goats in the farm system. The survey established the key challenges limiting dairy goat production to be diseases (57% of respondents), feed shortage during dry season (49%), economic constraints (21%), lack of healthcare (18%), and lack of dairy goat husbandry information which would help farmers address the other challenges listed above (14%). Two challenges identified through later workshops were uncontrolled crossbreeding and lack of records. Key benefits of dairy goat keeping are increased income from selling live animals and milk (35%), manure (33%), milk (18%), and improved household nutrition (15%). Twelve percent of respondents reported no benefit from keeping dairy goats. Average milk production for dairy goats was 0.92 L per day for three months of the year, whereas local meat goats milk production peaks at about 0.3 L per day, only enough milk to feed their young. To make dairy goat keeping worthwhile, small-scale farmers need access to appropriate animal health care, milk markets, and additional dairy goat husbandry training. The findings of this survey will guide design of education and improvements to the overall profitability and sustainability of dairy goat integration in Zanzibar and provide a model for the humid tropics.