Goat and Sheep farming are profitable enterprises now attracting investors, farmers and agropreneurs. Goat and sheep are collectively called Ruminants. Goat and Sheep are essentially raised for their meat and milk. However, ruminants by-products such as skin & hides, blood, bones, manure, hoofs and horns are now becoming relevant in cosmetics, organic agriculture, feed production and industries. Commercial goat and sheep farmers have been rearing under intensive and semi-intensive system of management coupled with improved technologies (such as Prophylaxis, Growth enhancers, Artificial Insemination, Low cost feeds/fodders, Hydroponic fodders, Value addition and innovative marketing), these acts have become imperative not only for realizing their full potential but also to meet the increasing demand of goat and sheep products in the domestic and international markets. Due to its good economic prospects, goat and sheep rearing under semi-intensive system for commercial production have been gaining momentum for the past couple of years.
High demand for goat and sheep and theirs products with potential of good economic returns have been driving many cooperative farmers, professionals, civil servants, retirees and graduates to take up the enterprises on a commercial scale. The emerging favourable market conditions, availability of good breeds and easy accessibility to improved technologies are also drawing their attention.
Important areas that could be of interest to investors include Abattoirs/Butcheries, Dairy, Live animals sales and marketing. Goat or sheep enterprise focusing on raising and selling live animals can be started with $5,000 or less depending on the scale of operation.
Value is now being added to goat and sheep meats and the examples of value added products are Suuya, ‘Killishi’, Peppered meat, Fresh packaged Meat, etc. Food processing factory are now making use of goat and sheep in their daily processing such as Sausage production, Mince Pie, etc. Goat and sheep meat can be retailed at 1000 – 2,000 NGN per kilo.
Goats and Sheep can be indigenous or exotic breeds. Noteworthy, indigenous sheep (Nigeria Udda, Nigeria Balami, etc.) and goats (West African Dwarf; Nigeria Red Sokoto, etc.) like to roam about, however, they should not be allowed to graze during high humidity or in the early hours of the day but when sunshine is available. Moreover, not all the indigenous ruminants can adapt in another environment however West African Goat (WAD) has great ability to survive in most climates.
Example of exotic goat breeds are Kalahari, Boer goat, etc. Kalahari Red Goat and Boer Goat are improved meat breeds from South-Africa. These particular breeds are now gaining widespread interest of investors because of their hardy nature which makes them to adapt to harsh weather conditions. The goats also have high prolificacy, good mothering ability, good meat quality (lean meat with excellent taste and texture), cross breeding potential and high carcass (meat) quantity. Local breeds can be crossbred with exotic breeds to get improved breeds. Kalahari and WAD have been successfully crossbred to get KalaWad. The use of Artificial Insemination (A.I) is also being improved upon.