Goat production in the smallholder section in the Matobo district in semi arid areas of Zimbabwe


  • Never Assan Zimbabwe Open University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Agriculture Management, Bulawayo Region, Box 3550, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
  • Michael Sibanda 8224 Pumula East, P.O. Pumula, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe


Goat Production, Smallholder, Matobo, Zimbabwe


Goats contribute significantly to the subsistence, economic and social livelihood of the majority  of the smallholder resource poor rural population in Zimbabwe. However, no comprehensive studies on the impact of goat production on the socio-economic livelihoods have been carried out in semi arid areas of Zimbabwe, hence very little information has been documented on smallholder goat production system and its productivity. This study aims at assessing the importance of goat production on smallholder farmers’ social and economic livelihood, and to identify constraints to increased productivity.  Although goats do not contribute to the official cash economy, they contribute to the food and cash needs of the rural households populations. This is evident from the large number of goats and their popularity in rural semi arid areas, where cropping is limited. A survey was carried out by a questionnaire using a total of 100 randomly selected smallholder farmers households in Matobo district of Zimbabwe. The major reason for keeping goats by smallholder farmers was providing  food  for the families, and  other reasons given were that income earned from goats went towards paying school fees, medication, acquisition of household assets, and cultural purposes. Inadequate livestock health support services  from goverment and lack of organised marketing facilities were identified as some of the major constraints. The unavailability of formal goat market system affected the viability of goats production, as a result of low returns.  The results  showed that households acquired goats mostly through purchases and  least acquisition was from inheritance. The study concluded that from the proportion of goat earnings used for household food consumption showed that goats are  important to the poor resource farmers  and thus can be a suitable target for development assistance. Hence, goat rearing can be a sustainable livelihood strategy in  improving the quality of life of the small holder farmers in Matobo district. It is also hoped that this study will contribute to the improvement and the understanding of the  socio-economic impact of goat production on smallholder farmers in Matobo district of Zimbabwe, and to a greater extent in the arid and semi-arid  areas.


Agrisystems, 2000. National livestock development study for Zimbabwe. Draft main report. Phase 1. Harare, Zmbabwe. Agrisystems Ltd, and Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

Akpa, G.N., Alphonsus, C., Dalha, S.Y., Gabra, Y. 2010. Goat breeding structure and repeatbility of litter size in smallholder goat herds in Kano, Nigeria. Animal Research International. 7(3):1274- 1280.

Assan, N. 2011. Prospects for Goat Genetic Improvement in Support of the Proposed Small Holder Goat Market Development Initiative in the Western Semi-Arid areas of Zimbabwe: Goat Open Nucleus Breeding Scheme (GONBS). A Review Journal of Animal Science Advances, 1(1):1- 8.

Assan, N. 2012. Indigenous Goat as a Potential Genetic Resources in Zimbabwe. Scientific Journal of Review, 2(3):89-102.

Braker, M. J. E., Udo, H. M. J., Webb, E. C. 2002. Impacts of intervention objectives in goat production within subsistence farming systems in South Africa. South African Journal of Animal Science, 32: 185-191.

Chenyambuga SW, Jackson M, Ndemanisho EE and Komwihangilo DM 2014 Profitability and contribution of small-scale dairy goat production to income of smallholder farmers in Babati and Kongwa districts, Tanzania. Livestock Research for Rural Development 26 (2).

Das, S.M., Sendalo, D.S. 1990. Comparative performance of improved meat goats in Malya, Tanzania. In: Proceedings of the First Biennial Conference of the African Small Ruminant Research Network held at ILRAD, Nairobi, Kenya, 10-14 December 1990. African Small Ruminant Research Network, ILCA (International Livestock Centre for Africa), Nairobi, Kenya. pp. 445-452.

Day, K. A., Maclaurin, G., Dube, S., Hlatshwayo, A., Trevor, C. 2003. Capturing the benefits of seasonal climate forecasts in agricultural management. Final Report for Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). June 2003. Sub Project 3- Grazing Systems in Zimbabwe, 67 pp.

Devendra, C. 2013. Investments on pro-poor development projects on goats: Ensuring success for improved livelihoods. Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 26(1): 1 – 18.

Devendra, C., Chantalakhana, C. 2002. Animals, poor people and food insecurity: opportunities for improved livelihoods through efficient natural resource management. Outlook Agric. 31, 161–175.

Diao, X., Hazell, P. 2004. Exploring Market Opportunities for African Smallholders , 2020 Conference Brief No. 6. Washington D.C., USA, International Food and Policy Institute.

FAO 2009 Small Goat; Red Sokoto Goats. Food and Agricultural Organization, Rome, Italy. ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao /009/t0376e/t0376e07.pdf.

Francis, P.A. 1988. Livestock and farming systems in Southeast Nigeria. In: Proc. Int. Workshop on Goat Production in the Humid Tropics. University of Ife. July, 20-24, 1987. Eds. Smith, O.B. & Bosman, H.G., Wageningen. pp. 125-137.

Gambiza, J., Nyama, C. 2000. Country pasture/forage resource profiles. Country profiles, Zimbabwe. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Gurmesa, U., Misgana, D., Feyisa, H., Merga, M. 2011. Participatory analysis of problems limiting goats production at selected districts of East Showa Zone, Ethiopia. African Journal of Agricultural Research, pp 5701-5714.

Kosgey, I. S., Baker, R. L., Udo, H. M. J., van Arendonk, J. A. M. 2006. Successes and failures of small ruminant breeding programmes in the tropics: a review. Small Ruminant Research 61: 13-28.

Kosgey, I. S., Rowlands, G. J., van Arendonk, J. A. M., Baker, R. L. 2008. Small ruminant production in smallholder and pastoral/ extensive farming systems in Kenya. Small Ruminant Research 77: 11-24.

Magingxa, L., Kamara, A. 2003. Institutional perspectives of enhancing Smallholder Market Access in South Africa, Paper Presented at the 41st Annual Conference of the Agricultural Economic Association of South Africa held in Pretoria.

Matlho, W. 1983. Sheep and goat production in rural Southern Botswana. (B. Sc. Dissertation.) University of Swaziland: Mbabane.

Matthewman, R.W. 1977. Small livestock production in two villages in the forest and derived savanna zones of south-west Nigeria. (Department of Agriculture Extension Service, Research Bulletin No. 1.) University of Reading: Reading, U.K.

Ndamukong, K.J.N., Sewell, M.M.H., Asanji, M.F. 1989. Management and productivity of small ruminants in the North west province of Cameroon. Trop. Anim. Health Prod. 21, 109-119.

Ogola, T. D. O., Nguyo, W. K., Kosgey, I. S. 2010. Dairy goat production practices in Kenya: Implications for a breeding programme. Livestock Research for Rural Development. Volume 22, Article #16. Retrieved September 16, 2013, from http://www.lrrd.org/lrrd22/1/ogol22016.htm.

Park, Y.W. 2011. Goat Milk Products: Quality, Composition, Processing, Marketing. Agricultural Research Station, Fort Valley State University, Fort Valley, Georgia, U.S.A. January, 2011.

Resnick D 2004 Smallholder African Agriculture: Progress and Problems in Confronting Hunger and Poverty, DSGD Discussion Paper No 9, Washington D.C., USA, International Food Policy Research Institute.

Reynolds, L., Adediran, S. 1994. Composition of village herds in southwest Nigeria. Small Rumin. Res. 13: 49-53.

Sellers, K.C., Dipeolu, O.O., Falade, S., Babalola, R. 1974. Household livestock survey in the Euruwa District of the Ibarapa Division, Oyo State, Nigeria. (mimeo.) University of Ibadan: Ibadan, Nigeria.

Shirima, E. J. M. 2005. Benefits from dual purpose goats for crop and livestock production under small-scale peasant systems in Kondoa eroded areas, Tanzania. Livestock Research for Rural Development. Volume 17, Article #138. Retrieved January 11, 2012, from http://www.lrrd.org/lrrd17/12/shir17138.htm .

Tadele, T, 2007. Improving women farmers’ welfare through a goat credit project and its implications for promoting food security and rural livelihoods. Journal of Rural and Community Development 2:123 – 129.

Teufel, N., Kuettner, K., Gall, C. 1998. Contribution of goat husbandry to household income in Punjab (Pakistan): A review. Small Ruminant Research 28: 101-107.

Teufel N, Kuettner K and Gall C 1998 Contribution of goat husbandry to household income in Punjab (Pakistan): A review. Small Ruminant Research 28: 101-107.

Turkson PK, 1992 The practices and problems of rural women involved in small ruminant production. In: Proc. West African Commonwealth Veterinary Association / Ghana Veterinary Medical Association conference. 7-12 September. Eds. Amanfu, W. & Koney, E.B.M., Ghana. pp. 20-29.

Wilson RT 1988 Small ruminant production systems in tropical Africa. Small Rumin. Res. 1, 305-325.

World Bank 2001 Attacking Poverty: Opportunity, empowement and security. World Development Report 2000/2001. World Bank, Washngton D.C., USA. pp 292.

World Bank 2008 The Growth Report: Strategies for Sustained Growth and Inclusive Development, Washington D.C., Commission on Growth and Development, World Bank.



How to Cite

Assan, N. ., & Sibanda, M. . (2014). Goat production in the smallholder section in the Matobo district in semi arid areas of Zimbabwe. Agricultural Advances, 3(8), 218-228. Retrieved from https://sjournals.com/index.php/aa/article/view/704



Original Article

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 > >>