Livestock – particularly goats – play a key role in smallholders’ agricultural activities in Burundi. They are a ‘savings-bank on the hoof’, thus can be sold in case of emergency for cash. Their manure and urine provide excellent inputs for farming activities, and, for important feasts (marriages, funerals, etc), they can be butchered and cooked as part of the celebration.
However, years of unrest in the country has resulted not only in thefts and abandonment of many thousands of stock – but is also linked to inbreeding of remaining animals due to isolation or lack of good stock.
Over the last years I have worked with national partners to organize a program of restocking that emphasizes both improved breeding as well as training of technical staff, who have not received updated training due to problems mentioned above.
The program developed two, interlinked activities: first, improving stock bloodlines and second, training for crop-livestock-agroforestry technical staff. The issue of stock improvement included the following components:
We organized a breeding program that integrated the three breeds, up to the 3rd generation – ie, local does are bred to exotics in this way:F1 – 50% F2 – 75% F3 – 87.5%
Any higher input of exotic blood creates too many health and maintenance problems for smallholders because of genetically-based traits of non-tropic goats, as I wrote a few years ago:
PROJECT STRATEGY FOR DEVELOPING MEAT & DAIRY GOAT STRAINS AND A 3-WAY CROSS
Burundi Goat Rehabilitation Project is developing an improved Central African Goat (CAG) and two strains of specialized goat: a Burundi Meat Goat and a Burundi Dairy Goat. The latter two are bred up through the 3rd generation by crossing either German Alpine or South African Boer bucks with local Central African Goats (CAG) does. Good buck progeny are then placed with farmer goat associations where they are used by the associations and others in breeding up their own stock.
The 3-way cross kids are an excellent cross, that appear to retain some levels of genetic immunity to tick-borne diseases that commonly attack the crossbred young here in the tropics, while also combining meat qualities of the 2 meat breeds (Boer and local CAG) with fast growth and milk production ability of the Alpine dairy breed. The author’s experience with the SR-CRSP program (Small Rumanent Collaborative Research Program) in Kenya has provided ‘lessons learned’ and techniques for the Burundi project.
For more information on our project work and technical materials, see:
- Our Mission
- What We Are Doing–The “Daily Round”
- Documents With a Tropical / Third World Emphasis
- The Role of Restocking in Crisis Mitigation–The Case of Burundi
- Notes on Dairy Goats and Artisan Cheese Production in Central Africa
- Why Do Goats Prefer Browse Over Grasses?
- Toxic Plants Can Be Part of a Goat’s Diet
- High Protein Shrubs & Trees for Goats (How to feed your goats what they would eat naturally)
- Goats Thrive in Arid and Savannah Climates Because That’s Where They Evolved
- Ecosystems For Goats Defined: Different Eco-climactic zones for different animals
- Managing Parasites in the Tropics With Better Housing & Nutrition
- Breeding for Genetic Resistance
- Urban Legends: The Origin of Pygmy Goats & Other Interesting Goat Tidbits
- Project Training & Technical Documents
- Housing; Plunges; Salt Boxes
- General Husbandry
- Nutrition & Supplementation
- Project Strategies for Herd Improvement
- Project Strategy for Farmer Associations & Livestock Producers Groups
This morning we sent nine goats upcountry, to an NGO project with whom I have collaborated in providing training. The does and one buck will be used to upgrade stock in an area in which the NGO is working:
- Work and Life During The War Years in Burundi. 2004 (dianabuja.wordpress.com)
- Burundi Receives Negative Business Climate Reviews (voanews.com)
- Goat: The Other Red Meat (notdabblinginnormal.wordpress.com)
- How Goats (and Their Poo) Made Argan Oil Big (bellasugar.com)