In order to awaken the consciousness, knowledge and skill required by Deltans on profitable goat farming under best practice farming system, the Delta State government has commenced the training of farmers in the state for goat farming.
Declaring the training open at the Delta State Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (DARDA), Ibusa, the permanent secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Austin Oghoro, stated that the training was to afford farmers the opportunity of sharing notes on practical knowledge and skills required for goat farming.
Sir Oghoro stated that the training was part of the state government’s goat development programme and that the state was in the process of collaborating with an international development agency to promote feed finishing and fattening operation as a business venture for farmers.
According to him, “under this partnership, farmers will be supported to access improved technology, improved feed, improved health care, goat husbandry practices and alternative markets, to increase farm income in a sustainable manner.”
He stated that because goat farming is considered small scale agriculture, only very few people venture it to the extent of formally marketing it which in turn gives the business a low status and low priority in national development.
Oghoro stated that goat farming was mostly carried out by small-scale farmers where the animals are kept in small flocks of about 5-10 heads/farmers and they are popular in their adaptation to any environment.
He revealed that goats are kept as secondary enterprises under mixed farming systems thus playing a vital role in augmenting farm income besides effectively utilising unpaid family labour and that goat are efficient converter of low quality forages into high quality meat, milk and hides.
Explaining, Oghoro said: “Their presence in mixed species grazing systems can lead to a more efficient use of the natural resource base and add flexibility to the management of livestock. Their productivity under this condition is very low and can be enhanced by improved management and feeding.”
He insisted that goats provide a broad range of products and socio-economic services to farm families and are used as gift, dowry, in religious rituals and rites of passage.
The director, livestock services, Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr Julius Omunizua, on his part said that over 185 farmers were undergoing the goat farming training in the three senatorial districts of the state, Ibusa for Delta North, Ozoro for Delta South and Songhai, Amukpe for Delta Central senatorial districts.
Speaking on behalf of the trainees, Gabriel Ohai, Ga-Bofue Farms, Ogwashi0Uku, thanked Governor Okowa for organising the training for the farmers and for his giant strides in developing the agriculture sector in the state.