At least 97 percent of the national goat herd is owned by smallholder farmers who rarely breed the goats for commercial purposes despite the fact that the country has potential to export goat products.
Presenting a paper on Goat breeding and supply of quality at the Livestock Revitalisation Conference in Harare last week, Department of Agriculture Research and Extension Services Matopo Research Centre head Joseph Sikhosana said goats could be reared for their meat (chevon), milk and skins.
"From our 3,3 to 3,4 million population of goats, Masvingo has the largest population and common breeds in Zimbabwe include the Matabele Goats, Mashona Goats , the Boer Goat and the Khalahari Goat. With all these goats, there is need to move from subsistence to commercial production of goats," Sikhosana said.
"The market for goats especially the meat is available in Zimbabwe, the Southern African Development Community region especially South Africa and the Middle East. An adequate supply of goats has to be ensured to supply regular volumes," he added
Sikhosana said goat farming was a viable enterprise and urged farmers to commercially explore the commercial production of goats.
"For now the quality of the animals is not competitive," he said.
Productivity of goats is usually hindered by various factors such as high kid mortality and lack of good animal husbandry practices, but they can survive under harsh environments.
Goat commercialisation in Zimbabwe goes back to 1968.