An example of where to start in powering the shift in Southern Africa climate-resilient farming is through the development of goat value chains. This step can be done in addition to adopting best practices in goat health and husbandry.
In South Africa, the focus of a Study Tour on Coping with Climate Change through Livestock in KwaZulu-Natal, from 26 – 28 October 2016, organised by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), with its counterparts in South Africa, the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, Mdukatshani Rural Development Project, Heifer International - South Africa, and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, is a good place to start.
Developing the goat value chain
The South African Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries states that the country is a relative small goat producing country and possesses only approximately 3% of Africa's goats and less than 1% of the world's number of goats. South Africa also has a number of goat breeds which include the Boer goat, Savanna and Kalahari Red, which are reared on a commercial basis, for the production of meat, skins and cashmere.
Goats are 'resilient' animals, which are capable of surviving in tough environments, and yet generally, the development of the goat value chain tends to be left to the informal sector – market and discussions – and subsequently, 'ad hoc' agribusiness. This undervaluing of a crucial sector to agribusiness development and food security has to change in fundamental ways. Goats can take the centre stage in agribusiness.
The Goat Agribusiness Project
Participants, all drawn from various Farmers' Organisations and Institutions in Southern African countries in the Study Tour, are exchanging in a free manner, ideas and innovative ways to deal with the threats of climate change through livestock. They have underscored the necessity of a fully developed goat value chain, even in the midst of severe droughts and related weather hazards.
The Goat Agribusiness Project, led by the the Community Animal Health Worker (CAHW), is showing that improving goat value chains is a necessary step to realise the promise and potential of African agribusiness. As researchers, development practitioners, and farmers continue to share best practices and drought mitigation strategies in Southern African countries, it is important that goats are seen as part of the force behind rural economies. Perhaps, the bonus insight shared in one of the Study Tour's visits in the Jozini project site, KwaZulu-Natal, was the acknowledgement that goats protect the environment, as they can assist humans to deal with bush encroachment.
Find out more
- Related blog post 'Job creation for the youth through farmer climate resilient practices'
- Photos from the Study Tour
- Strengthening the goat value chain in KwaZulu Natal
- The Goat Agribusiness Project
- CTA Flagship Project Making Southern African cereal and livestock farming climate resilient
About the author and the study tour
Raymond Erick Zvavanyange is the Zimbabwe Country Representative of the global network of Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD). He participated in the CTA-led Study Tour for Farmers on Coping with Climate Change through Livestock as a social reporter. The study tour enabled approximately 20 smallholder farmers in Southern Africa to learn from fellow farmers in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). The farmers in KZN hosted their counterparts, accommodated them in their own village for intensive interaction, and identified best management practices for livestock during drought, including the production of nutrient blocks and fabrication of the block-making tools as a job-creation mechanism for youth.