The latest annual Goat Market Value Chain Profile, compiled by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), provides an excellent overview of goats in South Africa. Find this document under the Directorate Marketing web pages at www.dalrrd.gov.za.
The unimpressive goat is, in reality, one of nature’s most useful animals. It can be used for meat, fibre, milk, skins and manure. Owing to its great adaptability it can survive almost anywhere in South Africa.
- Goat milk is highly prized for its quality of being less prone to cause allergies in humans than cow’s milk.
- Mohair is one of the rare noble fibres of the world.
- The Boer goat’s meat contains less fat, fewer calories and higher levels of protein and iron than meat from beef, pork, lamb and chicken. It is often called “chevon”, and from young animals, “cabrito”.
This article looks at the meat aspect and the information that is common to all goat enterprises, whether they be meat, mohair or milk. See the separate pages that are more specific to mohair and goat milk.
International business environment
South Africa is a relatively minor role player when it comes to goats, possessing approximately 3% of Africa’s goat population and less than 1% of the world’s. China, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are the major goat producing countries. In Africa, Nigeria, Sudan and Kenya are where you will find most of the continent’s goats.
The developing world accounts for some 96% of the world’s goats. Developed countries are the dominant market for goat products though. Were production systems to be improved, this has the potential to become a major earner of foreign exchange for developing countries.
- The Goat Market Value Chain Profile provides information on the international business environment. Find it on the Directorate Marketing, web pages at www.dalrrd.gov.za.
- The SADC Secretariat and German Development Corporation‘s Profiling of the Regional Agro-Processing Value Chains in the SADC Region (March 2019) includes a look at the region’s meat goat value chain.
South Africa: exports and imports
Goats were included in a study undertaken by the Trade Research Advisory on the opportunities for various industries to grow and/or diversify their exports. Refer to article “Study highlights potential export markets for South African, SADC products” (May 2022) under the last heading.
TradeProbe 86 (August 2021) included the feature “South Africa’s goat industry and its prospects to supply local and international markets”.
In the 26 February 2019 briefing, Mr Mike Mlengana, then Director-General (DG) of the Department, said that Saudi Arabia wished to source one million goats per year from South Africa. DALRRD was working hard to ensure that this demand was met, was fully supporting the black commercialisation programme, and the black farmers involved had been identified. Find the Parliamentary Committee briefing at https://pmg.org.za/committee-meeting/27958/.
Find the “Marketing”, “International / Export” menu options on www.kalaharikid.co.za.
Local business environment
The Goat Market Value Chain Profile provides information on the local business environment. Find it on the Directorate Marketing, web pages at www.dalrrd.gov.za.
The Eastern Cape (38%), Limpopo (17%) and KwaZulu-Natal (13%) are the largest goat producers, with nearly 70% of the total production (DALRRD, 2021).
Commercial farming is done with Boer goats and Angora goats. Small-scale producers mainly work with indigenous goats in a communal farming system.
The Boer goat, Savanna and Kalahari Red are currently recognised as commercial goat breeds for the production of meat and skins and small quantities of cashmere. Mohair is produced from Angora goats. Saanen, Toggenburg and Alpine goats are mainly kept for milk production. Gorno Altai goats produce cashmere. The several indigenous breeds are very well adapted to South African conditions, and seldom get foot rot. Some types are also resistant to Heartwater.
Almost all goats are marketed live. The marketing channels for live goats in South Africa are
- Live animal auctions
- Carcass auctions
- Out-of-hand sales (buyers buy directly from producers)
- Transactions by means of Liaison Services (agents who connect people but do not handle money in the process)
Goat’s meat has traditionally been consumed mainly by the Muslim and rural African sectors of the population.
Slaughtering of goats at abattoirs is recorded with sheep, so figures are difficult to gauge. Most goats are slaughtered on an informal basis and/or for traditional purposes (weddings and funerals). The commercial sector is responsible for less than one percent of the goats slaughtered in the country. The informal market of goats thus drives the South African goat industry.
It has long been a hope that Boer goat farming and exporting will attract thousands of black emerging and small-scale farmers. Local herds and breeding material have been too small to meet overseas demands.
National strategy and government contact
Goats have featured in various national and provincial government initiatives, be it national strategies like the old Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (AsgiSA) or provincial ones by bodies such as the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development or the Ntinga OR Tambo Development Agency. Watch the video of the uMsinga Goat Project in KwaZulu-Natal at www.kzndard.gov.za/umsinga-goat-project
Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) Directorate: Animal and Aquaculture Production Tel: 012 319 7493 Goat statistics can be found on www.dalrrd.gov.za (find the Statistics menu option under the publications at “Resource Centre”).
- Red Meat Producers Organisation (RPO) www.rpo.co.za The RPO has a Draft Development Plan for Meat Goats which involves a series of interventions like value add, research and value chain development.
- Boer Goat Breeders’ Society www.boerboksa.co.za Find details of provincial and other affiliated clubs across the country on the website.
- Indigenous Veld Goats Society www.indigenousveldgoats.co.za
- Kalahari Red Club http://kalaharired.co.za
- Savanna Goat Breeders’ Society of SA www.facebook.com/sa.savannaklub/
These associations (along with the Milch Goat Breeders’ Society) are affiliated to SA Studbook. See www.sastudbook.co.za.
Training and Research
- Agricultural Colleges, working closely with the Provincial Departments of Agriculture, offer courses on goat production. Examples include Cedara, Fort Cox and Glen College. Find contact details of all Agricultural Colleges on the “Agricultural education and training” page.
- ARC-Animal Production The ARC–AP Small Stock Section offers technology transfer services in a form of training to individuals involved in goat farming, and research on the nutrition of goats. See www.arc.agric.za. [Website not working, 9 May 2022]
- Boergoats South Africa www.boergoats.co.za Johan Steyn runs the “Profitable Boer Goat Farming Course”.
- Dicla Training and Projects www.diclaprojectsandtraining.com Courses are offered in meat goat management
- Döhne Agricultural Development Institute Tel: 043 683 1240
- Eastcape Midlands College (EMC) www.emcol.co.za The EMC has previously run courses on keeping goats.
- Goats Unlimited www.facebook.com/Goats-Unlimited-258846851160944/
- Grootfontein Agricultural Development Institute (GADI) https://gadi.dalrrd.gov.za GADI undertakes research and provides training in the theory and practice of small stock production. It also undertakes extension and outreach.
- Kalahari Kid Corporation www.kalaharikid.co.za Their agricultural officers do training on two “processes”: (i) Based on the Kalahari Kid Contract Grower’s Manual – Training provided by Kalahari Kid Agricultural Officers on a continuous basis. (ii) AgriSETA Goat Management Training Course (NQF 1, 10-months, provides the learner with a National Diploma in Agriculture (Goats Specialisation).
- PCI Agricultural Services www.pciagri.co.za
- Scientific Roots http://scientificroots.org
- Umnga Farmers Training Group https://umnga.africa
- University of Fort Hare Department of Livestock and Pasture www.ufh.ac.za
- University of the Free State Department Animal, Wildlife and Grassland Sciences www.ufs.ac.za/animal
- University of Limpopo Department of Agricultural Economics and Animal Production www.ul.ac.za
- University of Pretoria (UP) Department of Animal and Wildlife Sciences www.up.ac.za
- UP Faculty of Veterinary Science Department of Production Animal Studies www.veterinary.up.ac.za
- University of Venda Department of Animal Sciences www.univen.ac.za
- University of Zululand Department of Agriculture www.uzulu.ac.za
Other role players
- African Conservation Trust https://projectafrica.com [Website not working, 9 May 2022]
- Brakfontein Embryo Centre www.dohnemerino.org/brakfontein
- Embryo Plus www.embryoplus.com Read about the Boer Goat and Kalahari Red under “Info” and then “Other” on the website.
- eThekwini Municipality www.durban.gov.za Research shows that 6 500 to 7 000 goats are sold in the eThekwini region each week, a market that is begging to be developed.
- Goats Unlimited Tel: 079 522 3789
- HPSA Southern Africa www.hpsa.org.za
- Hoëveld Boerbok Vleis www.hoeveldboerbokvleis.co.za
- Hyphive Productions Farms @Hyphiveproduct2
- Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) Food, Beverage and Agro Industries www.idc.co.za The IDC has injected capital into the Northern Cape goat farming industry.
- Kalahari Kid Corporation www.kalaharikid.co.za It works with co-operatives and emerging farmers. Kalahari Kid Corporation also offers a training programme for emerging farmers wishing to specialise in goat production through the Kalahari Kid Training Programme, which is a SETA accredited training programme in the Northern Cape.
- Mdukatshani www.mdukatshani.com Mdukatshani runs a goat project across KwaZulu-Natal, supporting youth micro-businesses and farmers.
- North West Development Corporation www.nwdc.co.za
- Ntinga OR Tambo Development Agency www.ntinga.org.za
- Patriot Boergoat Stud www.patriotboergoats.co.za
- Ramsem www.ramsem.com
- Scientific Roots http://scientificroots.org Scientific Roots has been involved in a number of projects involving goats, whether this be drafting business plans and project management, skills programmes or building infrastructure.
- Siyazisiza Trust www.siyazisiza.org.za
- South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) www.sabs.co.za Veterinary remedy residue testing of meat
- Thembalethu Development www.thembalethudev.org Taung Boer Goat Farming project
- Womiwu Rural Development www.womiwu.com
Websites and publications
- Find the Indigenous Goat Production Handbook (Revised Edition) produced by Mdukatshani, Heifer International SA and the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development at www.iga-goatworld.com/uploads/6/1/6/2/6162024/indigenous_goat_handbook__revised_.pdf.
- Smart, M. 2010. Goat Production Manual: A Practical Guide. Indiana: iUniverse. Available at www.researchgate.net/publication/308438829_Goat_Production_Manual_A_Practical_Guide
- The latest annual Goat Market Value Chain Profile, compiled by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), provides an excellent overview of goats in South Africa. Find this document under the Directorate Marketing web pages at www.dalrrd.gov.za.
- The ARC and the National Department of Agriculture compiled a series of very informative Info Paks (booklets) that covers various aspects of sheep/smallstock: (i) “Breeding in sheep and goats” (ii) “Common & Important diseases of sheep and goats” (iii) “Feeding reproductive sheep and goats” (iv) “Feeding of sheep and goats” (v) “Goats vaccination programme” (vi) “How to estimate the age of goats and sheep“, and (vii) “Reproduction management of a sheep and goat farming enterprise“. Most of the Info Paks can be accessed at www.dalrrd.gov.za – take the “Resource Centre” option.
- Goat Info Packs can also be accessed at the Grootfontein Agricultural Development Institute (GADI) website https://gadi.dalrrd.gov.zaThe following breeds are covered: (i) Angora goat (ii) Boer goat (iii) British Alpine (iv) Indigenous veld goat combined (v) Kalahari Red (iv) Saanen (vii) Savannah and (viii) Toggenburg.
- The Shepherd Manual by Dr JJ Olivier is part of a computer recording programme for sheep and goats. Read more at https://gadi.dalrrd.gov.za/software/shepherd/shepherd.php.
- Call the ARC-AP – 012 672 9111 – for the following publications: (1) Commercialisation of indigenous goat production and products in South Africa (2) Goat management manual.
- The Goatkeepers’ Animal Health Care Manual (ISBN-13 978-1-86849-352-4), edited by AF Vatta, MA Abbott, JF de Villiers, SA Gumede, LJS Harrison, RC Krecek, BA Letty, N Mapeyi, RA Pearson, is available in English, Afrikaans, Venda, Xhosa, Zulu and Tsonga. Contact the ARC-OVR at 012 529 9111 or the KZNDARD at 033 355 9100.
- Scientific Roots (Pty) Ltd has created a searchable on-line Information Database containing information primarily on goats and development (including information on toxins, nutrition etc.). Visit http://scientificroots.org
- Ekarius, C. 1999. Small-scale Livestock Farming – a grass-based approach for health sustainability and profit. North Adams, USA: Storey Publishing.
- Visit www.kejafa.com for the following: (1) Natural Goat Care (2) Raising Meat Goats (a comprehensive manual for profitable meat goat production) (3) Small stock management (4) A DVD on successful meat goat production.
- A number of resources are available from Boergoats SA, which include: (1) Farming with Boer Goats – A practical guide for Southern African conditions by Johan Steyn. ISBN 978-0-620-46942-5. (2) A 30-minute DVD covering the management aspects of boer goat farming, detailing dipping, tagging, deworming, inoculating and the like (3) The Boergoat Production Management planner, record cards and handling facility layout plan (4) The website www.boergoats.co.za, which is very informative.
- International Goat Association, www.iga-goatworld.com.
- Livestock Research for Rural Development runs articles on goats frequently. See www.lrrd.org.
- Monau P., Raphaka K., Zvinorova-Chimboza P. & Gondwe T. 2020. “Sustainable Utilization of Indigenous Goats in Southern Africa”. Diversity. Available at https://mdpi-res.com/d_attachment/diversity/diversity-12-00020/article_deploy/diversity-12-00020.pdf
- Find the “Goats” option at https://wikifarmer.com.
- Burger S. 2022, May 27. “Study highlights potential export markets for South African, SADC products”. Engineering News. Available at www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/study-highlights-potential-export-markets-for-south-african-sadc-products-2022-05-27
- Marais S. 2022, April 9. “Commercialising communal goat farming in KwaZulu-Natal”. Farmer’s Weekly. Available at www.farmersweekly.co.za/animals/sheep-and-goats/commercialising-communal-goat-farming-in-kwazulu-natal
- Botha L. 2021, May 30. “High demand for Boer goat meat brings opportunity”. Farmer’s Weekly. Available at www.farmersweekly.co.za/animals/sheep-goats/high-demand-for-boer-goat-meat-brings-opportunity/
- Van Eeden D. 2021, April 27. “Goat farming: Here’s how to get started”. Food for Mzanzi. Available at www.foodformzansi.co.za/goat-farming-how-to-get-started/
- Dean S. 2019, August 9. “Intensive Boer goat farming: Good money, endless demand”. Farmer’s Weekly. Available at www.farmersweekly.co.za/animals/sheep-goats/intensive-boer-goat-farming-good-money-endless-demand/
- Sotsha K. 2019, March. “The Jozini Goat Market Reinvigorated”. Agripreneur, 16. Available at www.namc.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/AGRIPRENEUR-Issue-16-Final-March-2019.pdf
- Cloake, F. 2018, April 9. “No kidding: goat is the (ethical) new lamb”. The Guardian. Available at www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/shortcuts/2018/apr/09/no-kidding-goat-meat-ethical-new-lamb-healthy-sustainable-flavour
- Erasmus D. 2018, March 17. “Goat breeding: the challenges faced by smallholders”. Farmer’s Weekly. Available at www.farmersweekly.co.za/animals/sheep-goats/goat-breeding-smallholders/
- Phillips, L. 2016, February 12. “Five-year master plan to put goat farming on the map in KZN”. Farmer’s Weekly. Available at http://bit.ly/20UEfhz
- Bezuidenhout R. 2015, May 12. “Intensive vs extensive farming”. Farmer’s Weekly. Available at www.farmersweekly.co.za/farm-basics/how-to-livestock/intensive-vs-extensive-farming/
- Find the other Farmer’s Weekly articles like “Basic goat health management: all you need to know”, “Goat breeding: the challenges faced by smallholders“, “Boer goat stud reaps the rewards of data recording” and “Meet the Quattro Boer Goat Group”
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