For over 20 years, Paul Ssembeguya has bred, talked about and sold goats. In every fora, he cannot say five words without mentioning goats. At his farm in Ntuusi, Ssembabule district, he has over 3,000 goats and over 1,000 cattle.
Through the years, however, he has bred and sold over 15,000 goats, mainly in Ssembabule and Masaka sub-region, but also across the country. “I understand the market for goats inside out,” he said.
Ssembeguya says goats have a limitless market.
“We cannot satisfy both the local and international markets. This is why I call upon more Ugandans to embrace goat farming,” he says.
According to the livestock census, there are an estimated 13.5 million goats in Uganda. However, Ssembeguya says to meet the market needs both locally and internationally, we need to grow the numbers to over 50 million goats.
He said if the goat is white, then the market is even bigger and better. White is related to cleanliness and purity. So since the savanna goat is purely white, it is the market leader for goat meat in the big Arabian market.
“Most Muslims prefer the white goat because they believe that white is purity,” Ssembeguya says. He reiterated that if Uganda is to ably tap into the big Arabian goat market, then the white savanna goat, some of which he breeds on his farm in Ssembabule, is the way to go.
Ssembeguya says the Arabian market needs at least 50,000 goats every month from Uganda, which is on top of the big local demand. “There is no way we can meet this demand if we continue keeping the indigenous breeds,” he says. “With his success in Ssembabule, I am sure if this knowledge is replicated in other regions of the country, it will work out,” Ssembeguya says. At the moment, a kilogramme of goat meat costs about sh18,000 in Kampala.
The big deal
Goats are a moneymaker The Arabian market needs at least 50,000 goats every month from Uganda Status of goat keeping According to estimates by the agriculture ministry, there were around 13.5 million goats in Uganda in 2015. This was, however, a tremendous growth in numbers from 3.5 million goats in 1990, 5.7 million in 1996 and about 7.6 million in 2002. About 95% of goats in Uganda are indigenous breeds, while the remaining 5% are crossbreeds or pure exotic goats such as the savannah, toggenberg and boer. These were imported to improve meat and milk production of the offspring of crossbreed.
“However, the challenge is that most farmers cannot distinguish the various goat breeds hence leading to indiscriminate cross-breeding, unsuccessful breeding programmes and reducing the intended benefits.
According to Grace Bwogi, a goat keeper and member of the Uganda Goat Farmers’ Co-operative, there are four things that a beginner needs.
Land: It should be enough to provide grass for the goats. On free range grazing, one acre can take 20 goats. However, if it is zero grazing, an acre can provide grass and feeds for 50 goats.
Money to stock up one-year-old good crosses: These cost between sh150,000 and sh200,000. The total amount depends on numbers.
Knowledge: You can get this by visiting other farmers and attending farming clinics. You can hire a visiting veterinary officer too.
Market: Markets for goats are not a big challenge. However, you need to know where you are selling your goats. Advertise your goats if you have the numbers.
Passion: Passion drives everything. Love your goats passionately. Security to keep off thieves. You can fence the farm and hire a guard to look after the animals.