The Ministry of Agriculture and ESWADE have encouraged farmers to utilize goat production and commercialization opportunities that have been identified in the country.
This was communicated in a one-day workshop that was held at Edwaleni Farm Lodge. The workshop was attended by over 120 Smart Innovative Farmers and relevant stakeholders within the goat value chain which includes University of Eswatini (UNESWA), Centre of Financial Inclusion (CFI), Small Enterprises Development Company (SEDCO), Mashayinkonjane Meat Butcheries.
The Programme Director, Dr Xolani Dlamini who is also Director of Veterinary and Livestock Services highlighted that the main objective of the training was for information sharing so that farmers are able to produce according to the standards required by markets and also exploit other opportunities within the goat value chain.
Another objective of the meeting was to adopt a goat production model which seeks to address number of challenges experienced in the goat value chain in recent years such as inbreeding, poor nutrition and many more other challenges.
Goat Production Model developed by ESWADE in collaboration with MOA
Speakers during the workshop include Mr Tammy Dlamini who shared farmers experience, Dr. Vilakati (UNESWA) - Nutrition, Mr Thulasizwe Simelane (SEDCO) – Business Development, Dr. Thembi Ndlangamandla (MOA) – Goat Health, Mr Thulasizwe Dlamini (MOA) - Breeding, Mr Sandile Mbusi Sihlongonyane – Value Chain Development Stratedy, Mr Sifiso Nhlengetfwa (Mashayinkonjane) – Slaughtering and Value Addition, Mr Sibonangabo Sikhondze (ESWADE) – Goat Production Model, Mr Sicelo Manyatsi and Mrs Prudence Mnisi (CFI) – access to finance.
Gracing the training was the Minister of Agriculture, Honourable Jabulani Mabuza and the portfolio committee. In his speech Mabuza said government has made goat farming a priority. He also highlighted that since joining the agriculture ministry, he has learnt a lot about agriculture and now fully understands the opportunities and challenges facing the farming industry. He also said that he has been reliably informed that the population of goats has increased to match that of cattle as just over 500,000 and 95% are in the traditional sector where they are kept for domestic meat, cultural and as a source of income.
He went on to say that the goat market is huge and therefore there is need to meet local demand and penetrate international markets “there is a good breeding population of goats on one side and an undersupplied market on the other side. What is missing is a reliable link, he said. He highlighted that government’s expectation is that with the said national goat population, this value chain should be able to produce a meat yield of 1500 tons annually to the formal market.
He implored farmers to produce goats in the quality and numbers required by the markets in order to make money. He further said as parents they should also engage and train the youth on farming practices as seemingly the youth has lost interest in this kind of practice.
In conclusion he thanked the participants for attending an event of this nature where information sharing was made a priority. He further said the biggest challenge facing the country was lack of information. He then encouraged the use of such forums for information sharing.
Lynn Kota highlighted in her closing remarks that there is still need for empowerment as goat farmers still need to be trained on goat production. She said it is encouraging to see the number of farmers that are willing to promote goat production and commercialization. She also said a scoping study was conducted where it was realised that there is a huge market for goats. “We are with the hope that such forums will continue to share information, she said”.
ESWADE CEO Mr Samson Sithole following proceedings
Honourable Minster for Agriculture< Mr Jabulani Mabuza delivering his speech
The portfolio committee and on the far end is Ms Lynn Kota SMLP National Project Director.