“In addition to providing high-quality food products (meat and milk), livestock is the most important source of on-farm income and insurance in the low-input farming systems of semi-arid southern Africa.”
In recent years, André van Rooyen and colleagues in the ICRISAT Zimbabwe office have been paying particular attention to small stock – goats mainly – as mechanisms to improve food security and rural livelihoods.
Their latest brief argues that investing in goat production, reducing animal mortality rates, commercializing the goat sector and developing more efficient functional markets will generate cash for rural households.
Earlier briefs consider the important role of informal goat markets, ways to improve the functioning of rural markets (facilities, information, organization and transport), and strategies to overcome health and feed constraints.
Multistakeholder innovation platforms have played a key role in this work – facilitating dialogue among farmers, input suppliers, traders, transporters, processors, wholesalers, retailers, regulators, and the research and development fraternity. More on this approach as used by ICRISAT.