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  • Harinder Makkar
    Animal Production Officer
    FAO HQ
    Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
    00153 Rome, Italy
  • harinder.makkar@fao.org
  • Katinka de Balogh
    Senior Animal Health and Production Officer
    FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
    39 Phra-Atit Road
    Bangkok 10200, Thailand
  • katinka.debalogh@fao.org
A herd of goats running to the barn to be fed at the end of the day. ©FAO/Marco Longari


Promoting sustainable and thriving goat sector through networking and capacity building

With “Healthy and productive dairy goat farming” as the theme, the 3rd Asian-Australasian Dairy Goat Conference was held from May 9 to 13, 2016 in Yangling, China. Northwest A&F University of China, jointly with the Asian-Australasian Dairy Goat Network (AADGN), organized the conference. It was supported by several partners from the dairy goat industry as well as the provincial authorities in China. The FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok and the Animal Production and Health Division, Rome provide technical support to the AADGN and collaborated in organizing the conference. Approximately 120 dairy goat experts, farmers and industry stakeholders from 16 countries including China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Thailand, the United States of America and Viet Nam attended the conference.


Balancing fundamental and applied sciences and the need for appropriate policies

The main themes addressed at the conference were goat breeding and reproduction, nutrition, health and management. The discussion focused on both fundamental and practical aspects of goat production. Stressing the need to understand the fundamental biology of dairy goats, Dr. Juan Loor from the Department of Animal Sciences, Illinois University, USA said that obtaining better insight into nutrigenomics of complex biological processes would be a big leap towards increasing goat productivity. Dr. Arthur Goetsch from the Institute for Goat Research of Langston University, USA highlighted the role of feeding and stated that the economic viability of goat production systems hinges on balanced feeding. Mr. Piet Bijman, an international goat expert from The Netherlands provided information and suggestions on practical aspects of feeding and management. The presentations showed that there has been increase in goat milk production in the last few years in most Asian countries. Also it was highlighted that goats will have increased role towards ensuring food security, especially in the expected future scenarios of higher ambient temperatures and limited natural resources. The conference proceedings emphasized the need for a holistic development approach with appropriate policy formulation and institutional building that supports dairy goat farming, provide attractive markets for goat milk, and encourage milk processing industries to develop niche products for local use and for export. These key developments can boost income of resource-poor goat keepers and lift them out of poverty.


The ‘Field Day’ provided the participants an opportunity to visit farms with good management practices of dairy goats, and goat milk processing factories.


Promoting networking and collaboration

The conference provided ample opportunity for developing collaboration among scientists, technicians and dairy goat producers and for promoting the dairy goat industry in the Asian-Australasian region and beyond. Prof. Jun Luo, the host and chairperson of the conference, and current vice president of Northwest A&F University mentioned that the conference was a good opportunity for strengthening collaboration with partners in all fields, contributing to the ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative of the Chinese government.


Strengthening skills and knowledge

The need for capacity development of extension workers and farmers in goat rearing has been emphasized at several platforms in the past. Immediately after the conference a training workshop on ’Applied Feeding and Reproduction Management of Dairy Goat’ was organized by Prof. Luo and his team. Approximately 70 dairy goat producers and technicians actively participated in this workshop. The topics included practical training on feed formulation for dairy goats, reproduction management techniques such as artificial insemination and embryo transfer, and other management skills including silage making, hoof trimming, dehorning, ear marking, conformation scoring, goat handling, etc. The international experts who attended the conference also shared their expertise and knowledge with the participants. A high level of satisfaction was expressed by the participants.

“The conference and the training workshop have been important activities in the field of dairy goat production and would act as a catalyst in promoting research in goat husbandry and strengthening the goat milk processing industry across Asia-Australia”, stated Dr. Juan Boo Liang, Chairperson of the AADGN. According to Prof. Jun Luo “it will also accelerate development of the Chinese milk processing industry”.


The next and fourth Asian-Australasian Dairy Goat Conference will be hosted by the Tra Vinh University, Vietnam in 2018.