Small ruminant production in the developing countries

Proceedings of an Expert Consultation held in Sofia, Bulgaria, 8–12 July 1985
Edited by
V.M. Timon
J.P. Hanrahan

Rome, © FAO 1986



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ISBN 92-5-102343-3

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This publication on the development of small ruminant production in the developing countries is based on an FAO Expert Consultation, held in Sofia, Bulgaria in July 1985. Twenty papers were presented and discussed in the consultation and are reproduced in these proceedings. Strategies in breeding and breed development, nutrition and management, the development and utilization of indigenous grasses, shrubs and forest feeds for the production of sheep and goats, in arid, semi-arid and tropical conditions, are presented in the papers. A synthesis of the discussions is presented in the final chapter of the proceedings.


Sheep, goats, breeding, nutrition, management, feeds, arid, semi-arid, tropical.


World wide sheep and goat numbers have been increasing steadily over the past twenty years unlike most other livestock species used by man. Sheep numbers are now in excess of one billion and goat numbers are steadily approaching half that level. Of particular significance is the fact that sheep and goat numbers are increasing much more rapidly in the developing countries than in the more developed regions. This may well reflect the particular ability of small ruminants to survive and produce on low cost feed, their adaptability to difficult and in particular arid environments but perhaps more than anything else it reflects their suitability to the small low-capital family farms in the developing countries that so badly need extra food and additional income.

However population growth, albeit an encouraging trend, is not enough. We must achieve greater production efficiency in small ruminant production in the developing countries; eg., meat output per ewe is much lower and less efficient per unit of body weight in Africa and Asia than in North America or Europe. Levels of flock/herd management, of breed improvement and of disease control are lagging far behind those practiced in the more developed countries.

These are the challenges which motivated FAO to organize a consultation of experts in small ruminant production to assess the progress and development to date and in particular to identify and chart the strategies of development for the years ahead.

The consultation was held in Sofia, Bulgaria, July 8/12,1985 and was attended by 21 invited participants from allof major sheep and goat producing areas of the world. Following the presentation and discussion of the individual contributions the consultation then addressed the main purpose of the meeting, viz., to identify strategies and recommendations as to how best small ruminant production may be advanced in the developing countries. These recommendations are presented as the summary and outcome of the consultation. A complete report of the consultation and its recommendations has been published by FAO.

 H.A. Jasiorowski
Director Animal
Production and Health Division

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Trends in sheep and goat production over the past 20 years, by C. E. Terrill

Selection for increased efficiency in small ruminants, by Helen Newton Turner

Recent developments in reproductive techniques of sheep and goats, by H. W. Vivanco

Increased production and utilization of pasture and forage, by I. E. Coop

Nutrition and management of sheep and goats, by Soterios Economides

Breeding programme to increase production efficiency of small ruminants in developing countries, by C. E. Terrill

Methods used and results obtained in the transformation of sheep breeding in the people's Republic of Bulgaria, by Ts. Hinkovski, A. Stoyanov, V. Lazarov, L. Mihailova, Sv. Raichev

Use of highly prolific breeds and crossbreeding, by S. Kukovics

Development of wool goat breeding in the USSR, by Dr. Dauletbaev

Selection for increased production in multi-purpose sheep and goats, by E. S. E. Galal

Strategies to increase sheep production in East Africa, by R. T. Wilson

Increasing land utilization by small ruminants in developing countries, by A. E. Sidahmed

Economic constraints on sheep and goat production in developing countries, by N. Gutierrez-A

Small ruminant production in arid and semi-arid Asia, by R. M. Acharya

The potential for increasing small ruminant production in the Near East, by Faik Bahhady

Prospects for developing small ruminant production in humid tropical Asia, by C. Devendra

Prospects for developing small ruminant production in mountainous and other marginal areas, by F. Vallerand

Small ruminant production in tropic Africa, by E. 0. Otchere

Strategies to increase sheep production in Czechoslovakia, by D. Ochodnicky

Sheep and goat breeding in GDR, by H. G. Thulke

Prospects for increasing small ruminant production, by C. E. Terrill

Small ruminant production in the developing countries - synthesis and recommendations of the Consultation, by V. M. Timon

List of participants