Characterization of the goat feeding system among rural small holder farmers in the semi-arid regions of Uganda
Author(s)Nampanzira, Dorothy Kalule
Kabasa, John David
Nalule, Sara Agnes
Tabuti, John Robert Stephen
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AbstractGoats (Capra hircus) are widely distributed in Africa and Asia, and are important to the subsistence and economic livelihoods of many people in these areas. The goat feeding system among rural small holder farmers in Buyende district (Uganda) was characterised by determining the goat rearing practices, feed resources fed on by goats and availability of browse species mentioned by small holder farmers. Data was gathered using ethnobotanical and ecological approaches. Results from the ethnobotanical survey revealed that farmers were rearing indigenous goat breeds that are managed by tethering in natural pastures during the rainy season but free ranging during the dry season (i.e. when no crops are susceptible of damage). Major challenges facing goat production in the study area were diseases, shortage of land and inadequate pastures. The reduction of grazing land due to crop farming, has led to tethering of animals which in turn leads to restricted feeding. Goats were known to feed on 48 plant species distributed in 18 families and 39 genera dominated by trees and shrubs. Browse species were known to stay longer in the dry season when the grass and herbaceous species were no longer available. The most frequently mentioned browse species were Ficus natalensis, Harrisonia abyssinica, Acalypha psilostachya, Artocarpus heterophyllus and Lantana camara while Panicum maximum and Impeata cylindrica were the most mentioned herbaceous species. 31 browse species were encountered in the ecological survey. These were dominated by Combretum molle, L. camara, A. zygia, M. indica, and Albizia coriaria. In conclusion, the rearing practices of goats in Buyende district are comprised of indigenous goats tethered in natural pastures especially browses which stay longer through the dry season. However, most of the preferred browses are rare according to the computed IVI (i.e. less than 30%).