Characterization of the production system and breeding practices of indigenous goat keepers in Hai district, Northern Tanzania implications for community-based breeding program
Indigenous breeding practices of the farmers and the livestock production system form the bases for designing community-based breeding programs. The aim of this study was to characterize production system and examine breeding practices of the indigenous goat farmers in Hai district in Northern Tanzania to determine their relevance in establishing a community-based breeding program in the area. A cross-sectional survey was conducted in which information was collected from 160 households randomly selected from 6 villages. Average household herd was 29.2 goats with majority keeping less than 20 goats. Major reasons for keeping goats were income generation, meat and milk production. Controlled mating was practiced mainly using apron and castration. Castration was practiced using traditional methods to control breeding and improve meat quality. Farmers in the study area had large goat flocks and a small buck to doe ratio. Farmers do not have a good understanding of inbreeding and its negative effects but practise other good breeding methods which could impact the productivity of their animals. Diseases and feed shortages were the main constraints to production. Opportunities exist for a community-based breeding program to genetically improve goat productivity.