AGA IN ACTION
Concerted Efforts to Enhancing Dairy Goat Productivity in Asia
First Asia Dairy Goat Conference held and decision to form an Asia Dairy Goat Network taken
Over 90% of the 921 million goats in the world are found in developing countries and Asia has the highest proportion of about 60% of the world goat population. Also Asia has the largest global goat breed share of 26%. Goats play a vital socio-economic role in Asian agriculture, particularly for resource-poor people. Unfortunately, goat rearing for milk production has not attracted attention of policy makers, science managers and researchers in Asia since goat production has largely been in the hands of resource-poor farmers who are politically and economically marginalized. However, lately, due to emerging challenges of global warming – higher ambient temperatures in the future, decrease in animal productivity and increase in pressure on natural resources – the role of goats is being increasingly realized and appreciated due to their high adaptability to a wide array of environmental conditions and feed resources.
Concerted efforts are needed to address issues facing goat farmers and the goat milk processing industry to fully exploit the potential of goats. FAO joined with the University Putra Malaysia (UPM), Department of Veterinary Science, Malaysia and the International Dairy Federation (IDF) in organizing the First Asia Dairy Goat Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 9 to 12 April 2012. It provided a platform to share technical information and experiences and to network for promoting dairy goat farming. It was attended by 130 participants from 20 countries spread over 5 continents. Two days were devoted to the presentations and discussions and one day to the field visit to a local goat farm. A total of 1 keynote address, 9 plenary, 4 lead and 61 research papers covering various disciplines including Nutrition, Breeding & Genetic, Milk & Milk products and Economics & Socio-economic were presented. The Conference proceedings will be available on FAO and UPM websites in the coming months.
The main conclusions and recommendations from the Conference were:
- There is huge demand for goat milk in Asian countries.
- The sale price of goat milk is 2 to 4 times higher than that of cow’s milk in Asian countries.
- The goat milk processing industry is not well developed in Asia and there is a need to address this issue through public-private partnerships.
- R&D work on goat production has remained neglected and there is a need to generate new knowledge in the areas of nutrition, health, reproduction and genetic diversity and to collate and disseminate the already available information.
- The extension work and training of goat farmers should be given top priority.
- Development of sound and relevant policy options, institutional building and linking farmers to markets should be addressed, leading to both increase in goat milk production and processing of goat milk.
- South-South and North-South collaboration should be promoted in areas that lead to increase in goat milk production and processing.
The need for forming an Asia Dairy Goat Network was strongly stressed by the participants. A framework describing vision, mission, stakeholders, specific objectives, activities, organizational structure, funding and sustainability was developed with the active participation of the participants. The mission of the Network will be to: a) facilitate generation, collection, dissemination and exchange of knowledge, b) provide technical, institutional and policy supports, and c) promote improved and sustainable dairy goat farming in Asia. It will be launched in the coming two-three months and the secretariat will be based in UPM.
The participants showed a strong commitment to make the Network operational and to sustain its activities. Further information on the Network including the procedure to join the Network can be obtained from Dr Juan Boo Liang (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Second Asia Dairy Goat Conference will be held in 2014 in Indonesia and will hosted by Professor Dewi A. Astutia of Indonesia. She can be contacted at: email@example.com