Socio-economic contribution,viability and sustainability of different goat breeds in Gulu District
Auma, Maria Teddy
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Due to the ability of goats to reproduce quickly, they have been promoted as a way of improving rural livelihoods in developing countries. In Uganda there has been support by the government and NGOs to local communities to ensure food security and alleviate poverty through the provision of livestock mainly goats. However, the emphasis has been on exotic germplasm due to their larger body size compared to the indigenous breeds. There is inadequate knowledge on how exotic germplasm performs compared to the indigenous breeds. This study was performed to; i) assess the contribution of different goat breeds to households, ii) assess the income generating capacity and profitability of different goat breeds and iii) assess the vulnerability and adaptability of different goat breeds to seasonal changes. The study was carried out in Unyama and Bungatira sub counties in Gulu District. Data on the contribution of different goat breeds, income generating capacity and vulnerability of the different goat breeds were collected using a questionnaire survey. A total of 160 randomly selected households that rear goats were included in the study. The results showed that In Gulu, approximately 90% of the households rare local goats, 6% rear exotic goats and 4% rear crossbreeds as an important Socio economic activity. They are reared for meat (99%), manure (47%), spiritual activities (11%), cultural ceremonies (47%) and also sold for cash (71%). The local goat breeds had more functions compared to other breeds (2 more functions ie cultural ceremonies and rituals). Goats were sold basing on the general body size thus the exotic goat breed, having a bigger body frame generated the most income. The exotic goat breeds were more susceptible to disease, heat stress and seasonal variability while the local goat breeds were able to adapt at a faster rate to seasonal changes, they were also resistant to disease and endoparasites. These results show that local goat breeds are the most sustainable given the local environmental conditions.