Goat rearing is an age old business that dates back to the biblcal times, when Cain was described as a keeper of flocks in Genesis 4:2. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the Israelites in general reared animals including goats.
Goat meat also known as chevon is a delicacy for many people in Ghana and the world at large. It is also an important source of animal protein.
Goat meat is usually consumed in various forms, fried, steamed or boiled, grilled into khebab or even used for the preparation of palmnut soup, groundnut soup, okro soup or the most famous lightsoup which is Aponkye Nkakra as its popular known in the Akan Palance in Ghana.
Goat rearing in Ghana is mainly common among the rural folks who do this on subsistence basis. Even though many people who are involved in goat rearing mostly do it out of the passion they have for it, they do not consider the commercial benefits that they could derive from rearing goats as a business
The practice of rearing goats on subsistence basis is not good for the socio-economic development of society and Ghana in general.
Under the practice, just a few goats are kept at home mostly without any form of shelter and are fed by the household on remnant of waste food.
As a result, they are left to roam around the community in search of food, eating any available shrub or leaves or plant. This problem often times results in the destruction of crops and plants on farms as well as flower gardens creating conflicts between the owners and other members of the community.
Another disadvantage of this form of practice in goat rearing is that, it exposes the goats to danger such as food poisoning, accident and theft.
Because we do not rear enough goats to meet the increasing demand on the Ghanaian market, the price of goats becomes very high especially during festivals and occasions such as Christmas, Easter and Sallah.
Goat rearing on large scale for commercial purposes as done in many other countries including Brazil, Australia etc presents great benefits for the individual as well as the society since it contributes to our economic development as a nation at large.
Apart from increasing supply on the market and for that matter making the price affordable, it will provide additional income resulting in poverty reduction as well as reducing unemployment as more caretakers will be required to take care of the animals. Many more people who need employment would find jobs in the sales and food sector.
What makes goat rearing even more lucrative is their survival instincts.
Goats in particular have proven to be oblivious to dry conditions. Research has shown that in the worst drought, cattle and sheep herds decline, however, the number of goats increases.
Where as other farm animals such as cattle and sheep depend almost exclusively on grass, some reports received from people who are into goat rearing indicate that goats are capable of eating almost anything, including boots, clothes, saddles etc.
Develop a form of ranch in order to ensure that the goats are kept in an enclosed and secured environment with a caretaker house attached.
Make provision for a grazing area which should be as big could be demarcated into paddocks about half or quarter of an acre of land. The paddocks may be demarcated by the use of Thorn hedges purposely grown and strengthened later with barbed wire. This will provide them enough space to give them some freedom of movement at the same time keeping them safe and secured from danger and theft. They are also prevented from destroying crops and gardens of neighbours within the community.
In the paddocks, crops and trees that could provide fodder for the goats should be grown. Examples include cassava, maize, groundnut, as well as the Willow tree.
The larger the area, the more paddocks you could have and the more comfortable it will be to practice rotational feeding. Assuming you have four paddocks then feeding could be for a period of three months per paddocks.
Additionally, because the goats are fed on vegetational growth in the paddocks, additional feed purchased or even kept from remnant food waste serves as compliment.