Communal goat production in Southern Africa: a review

  • F. Rumosa Gwaze
  • M. ChimonyoEmail author
  • K. Dzama
Original Paper


Despite the fact that about 64% of goats in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are located in rural arid (38%) and semi-arid (26%) agro-ecological zones and that more than 90% of goats in these zones are indigenous, information on indigenous breeds is inadequate. This paper reviews the social and economic importance of goats to the communal farmer and assesses the potential of using goats in rural development in Southern Africa. Farmers in Southern Africa largely use the village goat management system. There are various goat breeds in Southern Africa, of which the Mashona, Matabele, Tswana, Nguni and the Landim are the dominant ones. It is, however, not clear if these breeds are distinct. Major constraints to goat production include high disease and parasite prevalence, low levels of management, limited forage availability and poor marketing management. Potential research areas that are required to ensure that goats are vehicles for rural development include evaluation of constraints to goat production, assessing the contribution of goats to household economies and food securities throughout the year, genetic and phenotypic characterisation of the indigenous breeds to identify appropriate strains and sustainable methods of goat improvement through either selection or crossbreeding.


Indigenous goats Goat characterisation Goat production systems Goat productivity 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Livestock and Pasture ScienceUniversity of Fort Hare, Faculty of Science and AgricultureAliceSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of Animal Sciences, Animal Breeding and GeneticsStellenbosch UniversityMatielandSouth Africa

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