Original Research

An economic analysis of communal goat production

P.J. Sebei, C.M.E. McCrindle, E.C. Webb
Journal of the South African Veterinary Association | Vol 75, No 1 | a443 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jsava.v75i1.443 | © 2004 P.J. Sebei, C.M.E. McCrindle, E.C. Webb | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 June 2004 | Published: 18 June 2004

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P.J. Sebei,
C.M.E. McCrindle,
E.C. Webb,

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The economic impact of different extension messages used was calculated using enterprise budgeting (gross margin analysis). Input data were gleaned from the literature, from participatory appraisals, as well as a field study, spanning 12 months, of small-scalecommunal goat farming systems in Jericho in the Odi District of NorthWest Province. The number of offspring weaned per annum, as a proportion of does owned, was selected as the desired output for analysis. This study has shown that small-scale communal goat farmers are not adopting or implementing extension messages to improve production capacity. In south Africa the majority of goats are slaughtered in the informal sector. If the informal sector is to be persuaded to market goats commercially through formal channels, then knowledge of the economics of goat farming on communal lands should be provided. The economic aspects of extension messages are probably an important factor in determining acceptance and sustainability yet appear to be seldom investigated. The probable reason for lack of adoption of standard extension messages, which promote improved nutrition, parasite control, vaccination and treatment of goats, was economic. In other words, the so-called 'poor management practices' used by communal farmers appeared to be economically more profitable than the 'good management practices' suggested to increase production. The price of communal goats was not related to their mass. A higher level of inputs would probably have resulted in a heavier kid, however it was established that this would not have influenced the price received as a majority of the goats were slaughtered for ritual purposes where age, colour and sex were more important to the purchaser than body mass. It is standard practice in commercial farming systems to evaluate the economic benefits of all management practices before they are implemented. Production animal veterinarians use veterinary economics to compare different scenarios to control diseases or select management practices in commercial herds. It is suggested that the inputs and outputs of small-scale farming systems should be carefully analysed and that veterinary economics should also be used to evaluate the probable impact of extension messages formulated by veterinarians and animal health technicians.


Communal Grazing; Enterprise Budgeting; Impact Assessment; Farming Systems Research; Goats; Small-Ccale Farmers; Veterinary Economics; Veterinary Extension


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