Livestock Research for Rural Development 24 (7) 2012 Guide for preparation of papers LRRD Newsletter

Citation of this paper

Production performance and desirable traits of Small East African goats in semi-arid areas of Central Tanzania

S W Chenyambuga, D M Komwihangilo* and M Jackson*

Department of Animal Science and Production, Sokoine University of Agriculture, P.O. Box 3004, Chuo Kikuu, Morogoro, Tanzania
chenyasw@yahoo.com   or   chenya@suanet.ac.tz
* National Livestock Research Institute, P.O. Box 202 Mpwapwa, Tanzania

Abstract

A study was carried out to determine the roles, desirable traits and production performance of indigenous goats in Iramba and Kongwa districts, central Tanzania. In each district five villages were selected and 93 and 100 goat keepers were interviewed in Iramba and Kongwa districts, respectively, using a structured questionnaire. Body weight, body length, rump height, withers height and heart girth of 225 goats were measured from flocks of the households surveyed. 

 

Crop and livestock production were the main enterprises undertaken by the farmers in the selected villages. Livestock production was ranked second to crop production in terms of contribution to household income and food security. The livestock kept by the farmers of the study area included cattle, goats, sheep, chicken, pigs and donkeys. In terms of importance, indigenous goats were ranked second to indigenous cattle by the respondents (61.4%). The average number of goats kept per household was 12.3 0.86 and 14.9 1.4 in Iramba and Kongwa districts, respectively. The main reasons for keeping goats, in order of importance, were generation of income, capital reserve and provision of meat.  The indigenous goats were valued by their owners for being good tolerant to diseases, drought and heat. The goats in the study villages had small body size and average body weight of 24.5 1.08 kg in Iramba district and 26.8 0.82 kg in Kongwa district.  The indigenous goats in Kongwa district had slightly higher values for wither height (59.6 0.47 cm), rump height (56.4 0.43 cm), heart girth (71.1 0.75 cm) and body length (53.1 0.54 cm) than those in Iramba district which had  wither height, rump height, heart girth and body length  of 58.4 0.62, 55.5 0.5668.3 0.98, and 52.9 0.71 cm, respectively. Average age at first kidding ranged from 14.2 to 16.8 months, average kidding interval was about eight months and average litter size was 1.2. Weaning age averaged about five months and the number of kids per does life time was between 9 and 10.  Diseases were ranked by most farmers as the most important problem affecting goat production. The diseases of importance were contagious caprine pleuropneumonia , pneumonia, helminthiasis, foot and mouth disease, foot rot and mange. Shortages of grazing land, feed and water during the dry season were the other limiting factors to goat production. If productivity of indigenous goats is to be improved these problems need to be addressed through participatory research and development efforts.  

Key words: Indigenous goats, body measurements, preferred traits, reproductive performance, roles


Introduction

Tanzania has 15.2 million goats (MLFD 2011) of which 98% of them are of the indigenous type belonging to the Small East African breed and are widely distributed in all agro-ecological zones of the country. Goat keeping forms an important and integral part of smallholder agriculture in Tanzania and is undertaken mainly by agro-pastoralists, pastoralists and farmers engaged in mixed farming. The advantages of goats over other livestock species in traditional farming systems is associated with small size, low initial costs, rapid turnover and efficient conversion of feed resources not directly eaten by man (Winrock International 1983). Unlike cattle, goats are generally referred to as poor man’s cow and play a significant role in the livelihood of agro-pastoralists and pastoralists.

 

In Tanzania goats are mainly kept for meat production (Chenyambuga et al 2004). Goat meat ranks second to beef in sales and consumption. In terms of palatability and delicacy, it is preferred to beef and it is valued relatively higher than beef. It is normally sold in bars and restaurants and popularly known as “nyama choma” (roasted meat). The consumption of goat meat is also interwoven into the traditional and religious festivals. Goats, for example, are used as “ndafu” in wedding ceremonies as a replacement of wedding cakes. Unlike beef or pork, goat meat consumption is not restricted by religious rules. Furthermore, with recent growth of tourism, expanding mining industries and establishment of international hotels in Tanzania, the demand for goat meat in urban areas, notably the supermarkets, has increased (Kinunda-Rutashobya 2003). The demand for live animals is also increasing. During Christmas, Easter and Idd Elfitir, live animals are in high demand, not only in urban area but also in rural areas. Recent market survey (Melewas et al 2004) has revealed that live goats are exported to the Persian Gulf countries, Madagascar and Comoro. These markets provide opportunities for improvement of goat production and commercialisation of the smallholder production system.

 

Before embarking on improvement of productivity of indigenous goats, it is important to make quantitative assessments of present biological and economic productivity of goats in agro-pastoral and pastoral communities where most of the goats are kept. Production and reproductive performances as well as the adaptive traits are important parameters in determining productivity and suitability of a breed in the farming community. The performance and adaptive attributes of Small East African goats kept in the semi-arid areas of central Tanzania are still unknown. Therefore, the present study was carried out to examine the function of local goats in the agro-pastoral farming system, determine their desirable attributes, mature body size and reproduction performance and identify the constraints facing goat production in rural areas.  This information will help in developing appropriate improvement programmes aiming at improving the productivity of local goats in rural areas.


Materials and Methods

Study sites and data collection

The study was carried out in two districts; Kongwa (Dodoma region) and Iramba (Singida region) between May and August 2010. Cross-sectional surveys were conducted in both districts. During the survey structured questionnaires were administered in five villages of Iramba district, namely Ntwike, Urughu, Kinyangiri, Ishenga and Kinampundu. In Kongwa district, five villages, namely Sejeli, Msunjilile, Machenje, Mautya and Laikala were involved. The villages were purposefully selected, with the help of District Agriculture and Livestock Development Officers, based on accessibility and presence of large number of indigenous goats. Within a village the list of households keeping indigenous Small East African goats was taken as a sampling frame from which respondents were picked randomly using a table of random numbers. In Iramba district a total of 93 households were surveyed in the five villages (Kinyangiri (18), Ishenga (18), Kinampundu (21), Ntwike (18) and Urughu (18)). In Kongwa districts100 households were involved in the survey in the five selected villages (Mautya (20), Machenje (20), Msunjulile (20), Sejeli (20) and Laikala (20)). Thus, the sample size was 193 respondents from the 10 villages. During the household interviews, the respondents were heads of households or spouses or adult members of the family (in the very rare cases when the household head was not at home). The structured questionnaires included both closed and open-ended questions. The questionnaires were designed to seek information on households’ socio-economic characteristics, preferred traits and reproductive performance of local goats, prevalent diseases, and other production constraints

 

Body measurements of mature indigenous goats were measured whereby body weight, body length, rump height, height at wither, heart girth and body length were recorded from 63 goats in Iramba and 97 goats in Kongwa. The goats were selected randomly from flocks of the households involved in the survey. In addition, body measurements of 65 Blended goats from National Livestock Research Institute, (NLRI), Mpwapwa, were also taken as a reference group for improved performance.

 

Data analysis

 

Data from questionnaires were coded and recorded into the spreadsheets for statistical analysis. The Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS 2002) computer software was used to generate means, standard deviations, frequencies and percentages. The General Linear Model (GLM) procedure of SAS (2000) was used to analyze data on body measurements. The fixed effects were location and sex. Mean comparisons were done using the Duncan Multiple Range Test.


Results and Discussion

Household socio-economic characteristics

Out of the 93 household heads interviewed in Iramba district, 91.4% were men and 8.6% were women. In Kongwa district 89 and 11% of the respondents were men and women, respectively. The inclusion of high percentage of males in this study is due to the fact that most households in livestock keeping communities are male-headed. This is a reflection of dominance of males in ownership of production resources including livestock. According to Bitende et al (2001) the basic resources such as land and livestock are owned and controlled by men as the result of a strong cultural background biased against women. Moreover, inheritance of land and livestock in agro-pastoral communities is in favour men over women.

 

The main economic activities of the farmers in the study areas were crop farming and livestock keeping. Most of the respondents ranked crop farming as the first important source of income and food in the households while livestock keeping was ranked second to crop farming by most farmers in Iramba (92.5%) and Kongwa (91%) districts. A similar observation has been made by Chenyambuga et al (2008) who reported that livestock keeping is second to crop farming in terms of contribution to household income and food security in agro-pastoral communities of Iringa region. Livestock contribute to household income through sales of live animals and livestock products (mainly milk, meat, butter and hides and skins). With regard to food security, livestock contribute to food security indirectly through provision of draught power and manure which in turn results into increased production of food crops. Livestock are also sold during the period of food shortage to buy cereal grains (finger millet, sorghum, maize), thus contributing directly to food security. The farmers in the study areas kept cattle, goats, sheep, chicken, pigs and donkeys.

 

The ranking of the different livestock species according to importance is shown in Table 1. Cattle were dominant and were ranked as the most important livestock species in the households. Most of the respondents (61.4%) ranked local goats as the second important livestock species in the household. Goats were followed by sheep and chicken in terms of importance. This is in agreement with the observation made by Kosgey et al (2009) that small ruminants rank closely behind cattle in their importance. The prominence of cattle, goats and sheep in the study areas reflects the importance of these species to the livelihoods of the rural people. Therefore, the ruminant livestock have the largest potential for contributing to the well-being and poverty alleviation of the poor people in rural areas.

 

Table 1. Ranking of the different livestock species according to importance in household income and food security

District

Species

Percentage of respondents per rank

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

Iramba 

Local cattle

81.7

14.0

2.2

2.2

0.0

 

Local goats

28.0

66.7

5.4

0.0

0.0

 

Local sheep

3.2

22.6

65.6

8.6

0.0

 

Local pigs

0.0

0.0

17.2

33.3

49.5

 

Local chicken

2.2

19.4

54.8

17.2

6.5

Kongwa

Local cattle

73.0

18.0

9.0

0.0

0.0

 

Local goats

37.0

56.0

7.0

0.0

0.0

 

Local sheep

14.0

32.0

54.0

0.0

0.0

 

Local pigs

0.0

0.0

8.0

17.0

75.0

 

Local chicken

2.0

30.0

61.0

5.0

2.0

 

Purpose of keeping goats

 

 The mean ( s.e.) number of goats in Iramba district was 12.3 0.86 per household while in Kongwa district it was 14.9 1.4. According to the respondents, the first three most important purposes for keeping goats were provision of cash income, an investment to be drawn upon need and meat for home consumption. They were also used for payment of dowry, to cater for traditional/cultural ceremonies and to provide skins, milk and manure, in that order of importance to the households. The observation in this study concurs with the findings of Okello (1985) who reported that in Uganda goats play important roles in the traditional, cultural, social and economic sectors of the small-scale farmers. According to Okello (1985) the most important role of goats is the provision of meat. Goat meat is a favourite food on special occasions such as the celebration of funeral rites, Christmas day, Easter day, wedding ceremonies and thanksgiving ceremonies for the birth of a new baby. Because of its small size, a goat is often slaughtered in honour of a special guest and to provide meat for consumption during communal work. The ranking orders for the purposes of keeping goats are shown in Table 2. The majority of respondents ranked cash from sales of live animals, investment/store of wealth and meat production as first, second and third purposes, respectively,  for keeping goats. It seems that the availability of market for local goats and their meat makes most farmers to be commercially oriented and thus depend more on sales of goats and meat as sources of household income. Also indigenous goats in the study areas serve as savings account and buffer against crop failure and other risks. This is in agreement with the observation of Tungu et al (2003) who reported that small ruminants are kept as a reserve bank in northwest Tanzania. In the present study local goats were sold only when there was a need for money to solve some household’s problems such as buying of cereal grains during the period of food shortage, paying school and medical fees and purchase of consumer goods and farm inputs. They were also exchanged directly for cereal grains during famine. Therefore, goats were regarded as safe way of storing wealth to be used at later times when there is a need to purchase cereal grain or when cash is needed in a household to meet various expenses.  

 

Desirable traits of indigenous goats as perceived by farmers

 

The desirable traits of indigenous goats as perceived by their owners are presented in Table 3. The majority of respondents said that local goats had good or average tolerance to diseases, drought and heat. It seems that the indigenous goats have been naturally selected, through continuous exposure, to survive the challenges (drought and diseases) of the study areas.  Out of the 193 respondents interviewed, 66.2 and 72.8 % mentioned that local goats had a medium body size and conformation/shape, respectively. The coat colour (white or white and black) was considered by most farmers to be good. Most of the respondents regarded local goats to have poor milk yield (67.7%) and low growth rate (43.9%). Similar observation have been made by Kosgey et al (2009) that the Small East African goats are rated poor for traits like growth rate, body size and fertility, but are considered good for drought tolerance, disease tolerance and heat tolerance by farmers in extensive farming systems of Central and Western Kenya.


Table 2. Ranking of purposes for keeping goats in Iramba and Kongwa districts

District

Purpose

Percentage of respondents per rank

 

 

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

6th

Iramba

Meat

18.2

37.6

39.8

2.2

1.1

1.1

 

Milk

0

0

45.2

54.8

0

0

 

Cash from sales

63.4

26.9

6.5

1.1

1.1

1.1

 

Investment

21.5

46.2

23.7

4.3

2.2

2.2

 

Manure

4.3

11.8

35.5

16.1

16.1

16.1

 

Skin

0

20.4

20.4

20.4

12.9

25.8

 

Dowry

0

12.9

6.5

18.3

37.6

24.7

 

Traditional ceremonies

 

2.2

14.0

45.2

32.3

3.2

3.2

Kongwa

Meat

8.0

37.0

55.0

0

0

0

 

Milk

0

0

83

17

0

0

 

Cash from sales

68.0

26.0

6.0

0

0

0

 

Investment

50.0

45.0

5.0

0

0

0

 

Manure

0

0

60

40

0

0

 

Skin

0

9.0

87.0

4.0

0

0

 

Dowry

12.0

12.0

50.0

26.0

0

0

 

Traditional ceremonies

0

0

84.0

16.0

0

0



Table 3. Desirable traits of indigenous goats in the study areas

Parameter

Percentages of respondents

Iramba

 

Kongwa

 

Good

Average

Poor

No opinion

 

Good

Average

Poor

No opinion

Size

7.5

62.4

28.0

2.2

 

3.0

70.0

27.0

0

Conformation/ shape

8.6

78.5

6.5

6.5

 

5.0

67.0

0

28.0

Colour

20.4

44.1

10.8

24.7

 

6.0

17.0

0

77.0

Horns

21.5

34.4

12.9

31.2

 

7.0

16.0

0

77.0

Disease tolerance

48.4

45.2

2.2

4.3

 

26.0

71.0

1.0

2.0

Drought tolerance

52.7

41.9

0

5.4

 

28.0

70.0

1.0

1.0

Heat tolerance

43.0

31.2

7.5

18.3

 

28.0

68.0

1.0

3.0

Growth rate

7.5

23.7

54.8

14.0

 

8.0

11.0

33.0

48.0

Milk yield

5.4

22.6

62.4

9.7

 

6.0

20.0

73.0

1.0

Meat

17.2

78.5

3.2

1.1

 

9.0

74.0

17.0

0

Fertility

22.6

67.7

3.2

6.5

 

15.0

73.0

6.0

6.0

Prolificacy

6.5

37.6

32.3

23.7

 

4.0

36.0

28.0

32.0

Production constraints

Animal health-related problems were the general concern of the livestock keepers. Endemic diseases (62%) and disease outbreak (50.1%) were ranked by most farmers as the most important problems affecting goat production (Table 4). Most farmers mentioned contagious caprine pleuropneumonia (CCPP), pneumonia, diarrhoea, helminthiasis, foot and mouth disease (FMD), foot rot and mange as the major constraints to goat production in their localities. A study by Madubi (1996) in three regions of Tanzania indicated that mange, helminthiasis, pneuonia/coughing, anthrax and foot rot are the main disease problems of local goats kept by agro-pastoralists in Tanzania. Apart from diseases, the present study revealed that shortage of grazing land, feed shortage and water shortage during the dry season were the other most important limiting factors to goat production. Shortage of grazing land, feed shortage and water shortage were ranked as second, third and fourth in terms of importance of their effects to goat production (Table 4). Other problems mentioned were conflicts with crop farmers, theft and wild animals. Other studies in East Africa (Mucuthi and Munei 1994) have shown that, in addition to diseases, the major constraints to small ruminant production are shortage of water, insufficient grazing area and theft.


Table 4.  Production constraints to goat production in the study areas

 

Variable

Percentages of respondents per rank

 

 

Iramba

 

Kongwa

 

1st

2nd

3rd

 

1st

2nd

3rd

Endemic diseases

57.0

37.6

5.4

 

67.0

22.0

11.0

Disease outbreak

74.2

18.3

7.5

 

26.0

49.0

25.0

Water shortage

0

17.2

82.8

 

3.0

50.0

47.0

Feed shortage

0

41.9

58.1

 

61.0

15.0

24.0

Grazing land shortage

23.7

30.1

46.2

 

4.0

50.0

46.0

Conflicts with crop farmers

7.5

31.2

61.3

 

0

35

65

Theft

14.0

57.0

29.0

 

0

38.0

62.0

Wild animals

36.6

33.3

30.1

 

0

11.0

89.0

Body measurements

Least Squares Means (LSM) of body weights and linear body measurements of local goats from Iramba, Kongwa and the improved breed (Blended goats kept at the National Livestock Research Institute (NLRI) Mpwapwa) are presented in Table 5. From the results it is seen that there was no significant difference in terms of body weights between local goats of Iramba district and those in Kongwa district, indicating that the local goats in the two districts are more or less similar in size.  The male goats were significantly (P ≤ 0.01) heavier than the female goats by about 3.2 kg.

The observed body weight of indigenous goats in the study areas compares well with the average live weight of Small East African (SEA) goats which are the most numerous and distributed throughout the East African countries. In Tanzania the mature size of SEA goats in traditional farming system ranges from 20 to 25 kg (NEI 1999).  In Uganda the average weight of SEA goats has been found to be 26.1 and 27.4 kg for entire males and adult females, respectively (Okello, 1985). However, the weights of the local goats in the two districts differed significantly (P ≤ 0.0001) from the Blended goats kept at NLRI Mpwapwa. On average the Blended goats were heavier by 27.7 kg than the local goats in Kongwa and Iramba districts. According to Das and Sendalo (1991) improved breeds have high growth rates and bigger mature size compared to the local breeds under research stations. It is evident that the size of the local goats needs to be improved, and this can be done through crossing the local goats with the Blended goats. 

 

Table 5 shows height at wither of local goats and Blended goats. The results indicate that the wither heights of local goats from Iramba and Kongwa districts did not differ significantly (P > 0.05), but the values for the two populations differed significantly from the values obtained in Blended goats. The Blended goats were taller than the local goats by about 11.2 cm. The wither heights for female goats were significantly (P ≤ 0.001) lower than that of males by about 2.1 cm. Similarly male goats had higher values for rump height than females. The Blended goats had significantly (P ≤ 0.01) higher values for rump height than the local goats. On average the rump heights of Blended goats exceeded those of the local goats by about 10.4 cm.

 

The heart girth values for the local goats in Kongwa district were significantly (P ≤ 0.05) higher than those of the local goats in Iramba district. The values for the Blended goats differed significantly from those of the two local goat populations. On average the heart girth of the Blended goats exceeded those of the local goats by about 18.4 cm. The heart girth of male goats did not differ significantly from that of females. However, the heart girth values for males were slightly higher than those of females by 1.4 cm. The average body length for the Blended goats (70.8 cm) was significantly higher than those of the local goats in Kongwa (53.1 cm) and Iramba (52.9cm) districts, but the body length values for the two populations of local goats did not differ significantly from each other. The body length values for male goats were not significantly different from the values obtained in females.


Table 5: Least square means ( se) for body weights and linear body measurements of local goats in Iramba and Kongwa Districts and Blended goats

Parameter

Iramba local goats

 

Kongwa local goats

 

Blended goats

 

F

M

 

F

M

 

F

M

Body weight (kg)

24.2 1.78c

24.9 1.21c

 

25.6 1.28c

28.1 1.05c

 

46.9 1.13b

60.0 2.06a

Wither height (cm)

57.7 0.70d

59.0 1.02cd

 

59.2 0.73cd

59.9 0.60c

 

67.3 0.65b

72.9 1.18a

Rump height (cm)

55.1 0.63d

55.9 0.92cd

 

55.7 0.66cd

57.1 0.54c

 

63.6 0.58b

69.1 1.07a

Heart girth (cm)

68.1 1.62d

68.5 1.11d

 

70.0 1.16cd

72.2 0.95c

 

84.6 1.03b

91.5 1.87a

Body length (cm)

53.3 0.80cd

52.5 1.17cd

 

51.8 0.84d

54.5 0.69c

 

69.4 0.74b

72.2 1.35a

a,b,c,d Least squares means with different superscript within a row and a parameter differ significantly (P ≤ 0.01)

Reproductive performance

Reproductive parameters of local goats in the surveyed villages are presented in Table 6. Average age at first kidding was 14.2 months in Kongwa district and 16.8 months in Iramba District. Average kidding interval was reported to be about eight months in both Kongwa and Iramba districts. These values are within the range observed by Madubi (1996) in three strains of East African goats in Tanzania. In his study age at first kidding and kidding interval ranged from 15.7 to 19.5 months and 7.5 to 8.9 months, respectively. Moreover, the observed kidding interval in the present study is in agreement with the recommended kidding interval of eight months to enable the goats to kid three times in two years (Devendra and Burns 1983).  The Majority of farmers had goats that do not produce twins, and litter size was reported to be 1.2 in both districts. The observed litter size compares well with the findings of an on-station study on three strains of indigenous Tanzanian goats (Mruttu, 2001). However, it is lower compared to the litter size of 1.44 to 1.89 observed in Landim goats in Mozabique (van Niekerk and Pimentel, 2004). Other indigenous breeds of East and West Africa have been reported to have litter sizes ranging from 1.19 to 1.90 (Erasmus et al 1985; Armbruster and Peters 1993). Weaning age was found to average about five months. The number of kids per doe life time was reported to be about nine in Iramba district and 10 in Kongwa district. The reproductive life time of does was about seven years while that of bucks ranged from six years in Kongwa district to eight years in Iramba district.


Table 6. Reproductive performance of local goats in the study areas

 

Districts

Parameter

Iramba

Kongwa

Buck life time (years)

7.7 0.28a

5.8 0.23 b

Doe life time (years)

7.4 0.25 a

7.0 0.21 a

Number of kids per doe life time

8.8 0.33a

10.2 0.29b

Average age at first kidding (months)

16.8 0.55 a

14.2 0.48b

Kidding interval (months)

8.2 0.23 a

7.6 0.21 a

Weaning age (months)

4.7 0.18 a

5.0 0.16 a

Litter size

1.2 0.04 a

1.2 0.03 a

a,b Least squares means with different superscript within a row differ significantly (P ≤ 0.01)

Conclusion


Acknowledgement

This study was supported by the Zonal Agricultural Research and Development fund (ZARDEF) of the central zone, Tanzania. We are very grateful for this financial support. We would like to thank the farmers who participated and offered their animals to be used in our study. Lastly we thank the Director and other workers at the National Livestock Production Research Institute (NLPRI), Mpwapwa, for allowing us to use the Blended goats in this study. 


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Received 7 October 2011; Accepted 2 June 2012; Published 1 July 2012

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