Goats are among the main meat-producing animals in India, whose meat chevon is one of the choicest meats and has huge domestic demand .Besides meat, goats provide other products like milk, skin, fibre, and manure. Goats are important part of rural economy, particularly in the arid, semi-arid and mountainous regions of the country. With more than 124 million population. Goats account for more than 25 per cent of the total livestock in the country and contribute Rs 1, 06,335 million annually to the national economy .They provide food and nutritional security to the millions of marginal and small farmers and agricultural labourers. However, the productivity of goats under the prevailing traditional production system is very low. It is because they are maintained under the extensive system on natural vegetation on degraded common grazing resources are shrinking continuously. moreover, adoption of improved production technologies management practices in the farmers flock is very low .therefore, rearing of goats under intensive and semi-intensive system using improved technologies for commercial production has become imperative not only for realizing their full potential but also to meet the increasing demand of chevon (goat meat) in the domestic as well as international markets.
Due to these fast socio-economic changes in the recent past, a rapid shift has taken place in the dietary habits in favour of non-vegetarian diet, As a result, the demand for goat meat has swiftly increased and the domestic market price for mutton has risen from Rs 200 per kg to Rs. 350 to 450 per kg over a decade .Moreover, huge expected increase in the demand for meat in the next 20 years presents an excellent opportunity for enhancing export of live goat and their meat from India.
The goat rearing using improved management practices under taken for maximization of returns from the enterprise was considered as ‘commercial goat farming in the present context, This paper has used primary data collected from the commercial goat farms spread in different states of the country, No information was available on the commercial goat farms operating in different parts of the country; however during the past one decade, a number of such commercial farms have come into existence. Therefore, initially, the efforts were made to identify commercial goat farms operating in different states and develop rapport with them. Information on the extent and process of commercialization, marketing and constraints was solicited from all the identified farms through questionnaire mode. The questionnaire responses could be collected from 61 commercial goat farmer’s in 11 states of the country, based on the preliminary analysis of data of these 61 farms, an initial view on commercial goat farming in the country was formed. Finally, 18 commercial goat farms from different states were selected randomly.
High demand for goat and its products with potential of good economic returns have been deriving many progressive farmers, businessmen, professionals, ex-servicemen and educated youths to take up the goat enterprise on a commercial scale. The emerging favourable market conditions and easy accessibility to improved goat technologies are also catching the attention of entrepreneurs. A total of 157 commercial goat farms spread over 16 states were identified. The trend of commercialisation of goat production was especially prominent in the states of Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal, Tamilnadu and Andhra Pradesh.
All commercial farmers were well educated and a good access to technical and market information.The size of operational landholding of commercial farmers in all the categories was found large, from 26.0acres to 78.5acres, The entry of large farmers, The people having major income from business and salaried jobs(33%of the total farmers)had taken up commercial goat farming as their subsidiary occupation, These people might be able to better arrange the required capital and skills for intensive systems of goat production, Intensive system of management on 80 percent of the commercial goat farms. However, it was commercial goat farmers belonged to the general caste. All the commercial goat farmers were educated, with 90 percent of them as postgraduates.
FLOCK SIZE, BREED AND INVESTMENT
The size of initial flock of goat for the new entrepreneurs was observed to be an important factor for the success of a commercial goat-farming project. Who started with a large flock of over 100 goats without gaining experience of managing small flocks, mostly failed and suffered losses and some of them even left the business. The exceptions were only those farmers who started with a very big goat unit of 500 goats and managed to hire an experienced professional or veterinary doctor to look after and supervise the management of the farm. The minimum number of breeding goats in a commercial unit should be 50 to make it a self-sustaining unit that can provide livelihood to atleast one household.
The major investment was found on the purchase of breeding stock and construction of sheds and structures, which accounted for 70% of the capital investment. The higher investment per goat in category is due to lower capacity utilization. The total investment at current prices should be around Rs 6,000 per breeding goat. The expenditure on feed and fodder was the major component of the cost of goat rearing on commercial farms and it accounted for 30% of the total variable cost. The concentrate feed and dry fodder accounted for 30% of the total feed cost. Therefore, it was prudent on the part of farmers to economize on the feed cost to enhance profitability.
GOAT BREEDS IN INDIA
There are 20 well-defined breeds of goats in the country like Sirohi, Barbari, Osmanabadi, Black Bengal, Malabari, Nellore black and Selam black were the important breeds of reared by the commercial goat farmers. Some commercial farms in India reared South African Boer-cross goats. The Boer was crossed with the Malabari, Nellore Black Osmanabadi, Sirohi and non-descripted goat breeds. It was observed that the cross of Boer gained a body Weight of 24-35kg at the age of six months. The farmers informed the colour and meat of local breeds was preferred over the Boer-cross by the domestic consumers.
PRODUCTION OF KIDS
Kids born from the goats were the major output of the commercial goat farms. There were mainly two kidding seasons: February-April and October-November, However, some goats on few farms kidded in other months also. This may be mainly due to better management, feeding and preventive healthcare provided by the large farmers.
PROTECTION AGAINST DISEASES
Mortality and morbidity losses due to diseases in goats have been a major constraint in the traditional flocks, the risk of certain diseases increases in large flocks maintained under the intensive system. Therefore, Losses due diseases in goats on commercial farms were estimated, The major diseases that affected goats on commercial were: PPR, enterotoxaemia(ET),pox, FMD, diarrhoea and pneumonia, The other health ailments were abortion, tympani, gidd, external parasites, etc. The use of vaccines such as PPR, HS and FMD and medication for internal as well external parasites need to be used as recommended for effective prevention of diseases and improved productivity. The level of different technologies by the commercial goat farmers, who are Training on scientific goat faming, was found encouraging. A good quality breeding stock would be essential to make the commercial goat farming more profitable.
The gross returns from goat farming were maximum from the sale of animals(90percent) The average price of live goats realized by the farmers influenced the net returns positively and significantly, The reason for higher price realization by some farmers may be the effective marketing strategy and better quality of their animals(pure breed and good health) The analysis that majority of commercial goat farms were operating with positive net returns with 60 percent of them earning good profit. Goat rearing as an enterprise was found rewarding under intensive system, the commercial goat farming under intensive of management may therefore be declared as profitable and promising enterprise. However, the technological intervention, particularly prophylaxis, superior germ plasm, low cost feeds and fodders and innovative marketing of the produce would be the pre-conditions for successful commercial goat production. Though commercial goat farming under intensive systems of management has been picking up for the past couple of years, only less than one percent of goat population in the country has come under such production system. There has been no organized effort to develop this sector and hence hardly any support and the required infrastructure are available for encouraging the commercial goat farming in the country. Governments have started making efforts towards promoting goat rearing. In this backdrop, the commercial goat farmers do face a number of constraints, particularly during the initial phases of the goatï¿½farming project.
Goat rearing which was the economic activity of people has attracted large and progressive farmers, businessman and Industrialists, due to its economic viability under intensive systems of management of commercial production. The entry of resource rich people, including poultry farmers, who have better access to technical knowledge, resources and markets, into this activity would help in realizing the potential of this enterprise.
The lack of good quality breeding stock being a major constraint in commercialization of goat production, the farms managed on scientific lines should be encouraged to become the centres of production of superior quality breeding animals.