LUANAR in conjunction with the Department of Animal Health and Livestock Development in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development has since embarked on a campaign to sensitize the goat farming community to conserve the indigenous generic materials and select for breeding outstanding, prominent and goats with vigor.
Speaking at a community based goat breeding and selection exercise at Zombwe in Mzimba district, Professor of Animal Health at LUANAR, Professor Timothy Gondwe said community based breeding is cost effective if the farmer follows proper procedures.
“The program intends to improve goats through breeding using local goats without introducing exotic goats, and it’s under the African Goat Improvement Program currently being piloted in Uganda and Malawi following successful stories on Sheep Community Based Breeding Program in Ethiopia,” said Gondwe.
Professor Gondwe said in the long run there would be improved productivity through meat, milk as well as adaptation of our local goats and also try to conserve our local goats which would in turn improve food and nutrition security.
“So far, the reception has been good although previously whenever we introduced livestock improvement programs people believed we are bringing in exotic ones that has been a challenge to convince people and change mindset of farmers extension works even scientist.,” said Gondwe.
In the program Government through Ministry of Agriculture organizes farmers so that they participate in the program.
“Usually the community based animal breeding produces better offspring’s for quality meat, milk and standard animal for market,” noted Patricia Mayuni, Deputy Director in the Department of Animal and Livestock Production.
Meanwhile, the campaign is said to have come at the time when most farmers especially in Mzuzu Agriculture Development Division (MZADD) are said to be venturing into small scale livestock production.
Chief Animal Health and Livestock Development Officer for MZADD, Dr. Henson Kainga pointed out that a lot of farmers have ventured into small scale livestock product.
“Basing on our recent survey we registered over 24 000 farmers practicing small scale farmers into chicken, goat, rabbit production as opposed to cattle,” observed Dr. Kainga.
LUANAR and Department of Animal Health and Livestock Production have since discouraged the tendency of inbreeding saying it suppresses the quality of livestock breed.
Currently they are working with farmers in Zombwe EPA in Mzuzu Agriculture Development division and Magoti EPA in Lower Shire Agriculture development division.