By Danny O. Calleja
Farmers here and other parts of Sorsogon province have recognized goat raising as environment friendly and profitable farming venture.
City councilor Roberto Dollison, head of the three-year old Sorsogon Goat Raisers Association (SGRA), on Tuesday said “from backyard raisers, our group is mulling on converting into a cooperative and turn bigtime entrepreneur to take advantage of the demand for goat products like breeders, meat and milk.”
Each of the 25 members of SGRA had an average of 10 heads of goat stocks of various breeds and raising them is already a quite good number to start for bigtime farming, Dollison said.
The country had still a meager number of goats even with the shift in diet preferences and the growing demand and interest for goat meat in the local market. The goat population is presently estimated at 3.3 million and rising continuously, Dollison ,quoting a recent report of the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), said.
One big problem, he said was the cost of breeder goats that as of the present, a six-month old native female at 10-12 kilograms already commands a price of P2,500. A four-month old meztizo weanling costs P4,000 and bucks for breeding are now at P11,000 to P20,000 per head.
But a recent report of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD) said that this problem does not stop raisers and breeders from dipping their hands into this low-risk profitable livelihood.
Goats adapt well to any existing farming system and feed on forages and other farm products although raisers also use concentrates, it said.
“Goats are very popular among Filipinos because they require low initial capital investment, fit the small hold farm conditions, and multiply fast,” PCARRD explained in its investment briefer. “Culturally, goats are integral to every special occasion such as birthdays, baptisms, weddings, and fiestas. Hence, they command a higher price compared with other meats in the market.”
These ruminants require low maintenance because they eat tree leaves, grasses, weeds and agricultural by-products. “Goats require less feed than cows and carabaos as about 10 native goats can be fed on the feedstuffs sufficient for one cattle and about seven purebred dairy goats can be fed on the feedstuffs adequate for one dairy cow.
“Although a goat is small, it can produce as much as four liters of milk a day if it is purebred and is given a ration to meet all of its nutritional requirements,” the PCARRD added.
A PCARRD study conducted found out that goats are multi-purpose ruminants producing 58.4 percent milk, 35.6 percent meat, 4.3 percent hide and 1.7 percent fiber. It said that these small ruminants could provide the answer to improve nutritional requirements of the predominantly rural farm families scattered all over the archipelago.
As goat production requires low initial investment and small risks compared to other livestock, it is therefore an attractive undertaking among resource-poor families. In addition, women and children can raise the animals, making it a sound option to augment the country’s programs on livelihood. Goats provide livelihood to about 15 million Filipinos across the country, according to PCARRD.
Despite this, goat farming is still not very popular among Filipinos and no one exactly knows how many goats are there in the country.
PCARRD claims that the total goat inventory is “steadily increasing” at 2 percent per year. This supply is still not enough to meet the current demands. “We expect that the increased demand will last to 2020 when the project supply can meet the demand of the consumers,” PCARRD said.
The optimum potential of goat as one of the main sources of milk and meat has not been fully tapped in the country.
The Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) of the Department of Agriculture (DA) reported that the total number of goats in the country is about 3,355,574. Most of the goat farms are concentrated in Southern Luzon and various parts of Mindanao.
In Mindanao, Dollison said, goat farming was considered a “sunshine industry.” The country’s second largest island has a large Muslim population and goat meat is considered Halal food. There is also a big demand in the international market, particularly the Middle East.
In Sorsogon, Dollison said more and more people were raising goats in their farms that aside from providing them a steady income from the milk and sales of breeding stocks, they have discovered one thing about the animals.
“Their manure is a good source of fertilizer,” he said. SGRA’s combined stock of about 250 goats provides organic fertilizer for our farms planted to rice, rootcrops, vegetables, coconuts and fruit trees that since fertilizer costs have gone up, more and more farmers are turning to goatraising, Dollison said.
There are at least 12 known goat species in the world but only a relatively small number of breeds are economically useable. The Philippine’s native goat is small but hardy. It weighs about 25 kilograms at maturity and produces only about 350 grams of milk with butterfat content of around 4.6 percent daily.
The Dadiangas goat is common in General Santos City is a mixture of native, Nubian and Jamnapari goats and some animals may even have some Alpine or Saanen blood. The milk production and butterfat content are marginally higher than native goats and they do best in the drier areas of the country.
Of the introduced breeds in the country, Anglo Nubian performs the best along with the newer introduced Boer goats. The dairy breeds such as the Saanen, Toggenburg and French Alpine perform relatively poorly.
For those who cannot afford a purebred stock, starting with the best female goats available in the locality is the best idea and bred them with purebreds or upgraded stock and by selecting th desirable offspring and discarding the undesirable ones, a good stock will emerge later, Dollison said.
For commercial or large-scale operation, the production inputs are aplenty. Fixed investment includes land, goat house, fences, pasture area, water pump, feeding trough, spade, wheelbarrow, and ropes.
“You have to buy breeding does and breeding bucks. Operating expenses include veterinary medicines, drugs, and vaccines; feed supplements and goat rations; and repair and maintenance of goat house, fences, equipment, and pasture. Fixed and seasonal labor is also required,” he said.
PCARRD said, with minimal initial capital investment of about P67,000 for 25-doe level, P174,500 for 60-doe level, or P349,000 for 100-doe level, positive net income and return-on-investment (ROI) are realized, even as early as the first year.
The ROI for five years is 67 percent from a 25-doe level operation under semi-confinement scheme and 60 percent from 50- and 100-doe level operations under pure confinement system. Payback period is two years, the PCARRD added.
Goats have gone a long way from being just poor man’s cows. These animals have proven to be more than just four-legged mammals that generate milk and meat. They survive in almost any kind of environment that is dry and where feed resources are available, making their potential as one of the main sources of farm income.
Given all those advantages, PCARRD said it has picked up on this renewed interest on goats and is now laying various science and technology (S&T) initiatives to continue coming up with better quality stocks, promote goat reproduction techniques and encourage new and fresh approaches to manage goats and the business of raising them.
Along with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFDA), PCARRD has initiated trainings on effective goat management to further promote its competence.
After analyzing the cost and returns of raising goats, they proved that it is a low-risk profitable livelihood. Assuming a goat raiser has five does at P2,500 each, an initial investment of P32,000 can mean extra income of at least P14,800 in sales of goat stock after two business years.
PCARRD has also initiated its 1,000-goat farms program that aims to launch 1,000 smallholder farmers into full-time commercial goat raisers to continue the wave of effect that goat raising has started.
In the end, even with problems on seasonality of demand, fluctuating prices of goats and breeders, high costs of feed, wavering veterinary services and high taxes and business permits to start with, raising goats will continue to flourish and find its optimum potential in the future, it said.
That is because 63 percent of the world’s total meat consumption can be credited to goat meat. According to http://www.boergoatshome.com, people-from Mideasterners and African to Latin American and Arabs prefer goat meat than any other veal-like meat around the world. (PNA Bicol)