Sheep and goats for diverse products and profits

FAO DIVERSIFICATION BOOKLET 9

Sheep and goats
for diverse products
and profits


Geoff Pollott and R. Trevor Wilson



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Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Rome, 2009


ABSTRACT

SMALL RUMINANTS, SUCH AS SHEEP AND GOATS, FIT WELL INTO SMALLHOLDER FARMING SYSTEMS. Their grazing preferences enable them to feed on weeds, shrubs and other plants that other species of domestic animals tend to refuse. Their small size means they require less space than larger animals and they are less likely to damage and compact soils. They are easier to work with than large ruminants and are cheaper to buy and maintain. Moreover, under the right conditions, they can be quite prolific. The range of products produced by small ruminants is easy to market because demand is high yet largely unfulfilled. Hence there are considerable opportunities for smallholders to use such animals more effectively and efficiently and thus increase their contribution to livelihoods.

Sheep and goats are widely distributed throughout the world, but policy-makers and administrators tend to overlook their contributions to the economy, rural and peri-urban livelihoods, the empowerment of women, other marginalized groups and food security.


The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) concerning the legal or development status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. The mention of specific companies or products of manufacturers, whether or not these have been patented, does not imply that these have been endorsed or recommended by FAO in preference to others of a similar nature that are not mentioned.

The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

ISBN 978-92-5-106137-4

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