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Kenyan farmers reaping big from rearing Galla goats

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The Galla goats are able to survive with little food resources

By Zablon Oyugi

If you are looking for a livestock farming business in Kenya which can sustain the prevailing erratic weather and climate conditions and fetch you some good cash without much stress then you may take a look at Galla goats rearing.

Galla goats is a unique breed of goats that is more resilient to the changing climatic and weather conditions and has been embraced by farming communities along the border of Kenya and Ethiopia as an adaptation strategy.

“When droughts wipe out their animals, the communities are devastated. Therefore a resistant breed that produces higher yield of milk and has bigger body mass for meat production means the farmers can now mitigate the drought crisis,” says Tarry Johnstone, Project Manager at Pastoralist Community Initiative and Development Assistance (PACIDA).

Stellar characteristics

Now, this breed which possesses other host of stellar characteristics like resistance to gastro-intestinal parasites and infectious diseases has been fronted by experts as the best option for those who want to venture into commercial production but has limited space and less capital.

“Rearing the goats is also very cheap, even for farmers with low incomes, as they are hardy browsers and can feed on most types of vegetation, including shrubs and twigs, making feeding affordable,” said Antony Mutembei a certified breeder and veterinary from Tharaka Nthi County.

Moreover, where indigenous breeds are often jumpy and very unfriendly, the Gallas are easy to manage as they are friendly and docile.

Meat and milk production

Larger in size than other goats, Gallas build more meat, with their ample bone structure for muscle formation, and they gain weight rapidly within a short period even where the conditions are harsh.

“I ditched traditional to Galla goats in 2015 because they (Galla goats) mature faster to attain up to 70kg fetching three times the price of local breeds at the market,” said Edward Ouko, a farmer from Nyando, Kisumu County.

According to Daniel Langat, another farmer from Mogotio, Baringo County, a mature female Galla goat weighs between 45 and 55kg while the male one’s weight can go up to 60-70kg as compared to adult local male goat which weighs between 30 and 40kg while a female weighs from 25 to 30kg.

“I can now comfortably manage my family expenses from the sale of the goats and still use the rest of the money to cater for farming needs,” said Langat who also started rearing the breed in 2015.

Galla goat is also a good producer of milk of up to 3 litres a day as compared to crossbreeds, which produce 1.5 litres, and indigenous breeds, which produce 0.5 litres a day.

The milk is highly sought after due to its nutritional value, which makes it pricey, with a litre selling for Sh200 at the farm gate and Sh300 in supermarkets.

Goat milk is superior to cow milk, because it is high in calcium and amino acids, which are necessary for the development of healthy bones, and has 35 per cent fatty acids, compared with 17 per cent in cow milk, and is lower in cholesterol and fat content, which makes digestion faster and is recommended for children and for those who are sickly or recuperating.

However, to get the full benefits from the goats, Dr Kipkemoi Changwony, Director of the Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) Sheep and Goats Institute in Marsabit, advises farmers to acquire breeds from Kalro or from breeders certified by the Directorate of Veterinary Services, to avoid being conned into buying half breeds.

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