Characterisation of goat production systems in selected coastal areas of the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa

No Thumbnail Available



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


University of Fort Hare


The main objective of the study was to characterise goat production systems by resource limited farmers in coastal areas of the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. A household survey followed by monitoring of goat flocks was conducted among 100 communal farmers in Port St Johns and Umquma Municipalities. All data was analysed using SAS and simulation models were developed using the DynaMod model. The male household heads (75 percent) owned most of the goats, followed by female de-jure (16 percent) and de-facto (6 percent) heads. Goats were mainly used for ceremonies (38 percent) and generation of income (37 percent). The farmers kept mostly indigenous goats together with Boer breed and their crosses. Most farmers controlled internal parasites through regular dosing. The control of external parasites was through dipping. The goat housing was made of wooden poles without any roofing and the kids were kept together with the mature goats in these structures. The goats were marketed through informal channels at an average price of R1500 per goat. Most farmers preferred selling castrated male goats (57 percent) with peak sales in winter and late summer. Generally, the reproductive performance was low across all villages. Majola village had the lowest fecundity (68 percent) and prolificacy (111 percent) while the other villages showed higher fertility rates (Prolificacy 120-124 percent; Fecundity 80-88 percent). Low kid survivability was associated with multiple births as villages with higher fertility rates had the highest infant mortality (31-38 percent). The villages of Port St Johns Municipality had high goat populations in both current and improved production simulations. Inadequate nutrition supply however restricted the growth potential of the Majola flock while genetic unfitness limited that of Izibityolo, Mission and Klanisi villages. iii Goat class distribution was characterised by a few bucks and high doe proportions across all the villages. Breeding ratio per village was above the recommended 0.04 in all villages despite lack of buck ownership by most households. The effective population sizes were all below 50 hence endangering the existence of indigenous Xhosa lob-eared goats in these populations. The failure to control breeding resulted in high inbreeding rates that surpassed the acceptable threshold level of 0.063 in all villages except Majola. The negative relationship between effective population size and fertility indicators revealed the deleterious effect of inbreeding to flock productivity. This was also further evidenced by the positive relationship between fecundity and kid mortality. These results revealed that there were high levels of genetic unfitness resulting in offspring adaptation failure as shown by high kid mortalities in the flocks. In conclusion, goat production was characterised by ineffective management strategies which led to lower reproductive performance as there were high inbreeding levels across the villages.



Goats -- South Africa -- Eastern Cape, Agricultural systems -- South Africa -- Eastern Cape, Goats -- Breeding -- South Africa -- Eastern Cape