NARO embarks on research to improve local goat breeds

APAC, February 8, 2024 – The National Agricultural Research Organisation [NARO] is carrying out research to improve local goat breeds and boost meat production in the country.

According to NARO`s Principal Research Officer, Dr Henry Mulindwa who heads the goat improvement programme at the National Livestock Resource and Research Institute [NALIRRI] at Maruzi Ranch in Apac district, goats in Uganda have small body weights, which he said is not good for meat production.

He recently told this reporter that NARO plans to crossbreed local goats [Mubende goat] with the Kalahari breed imported from South Africa, saying the latter grows faster and attains 40 kilogrammes in eight months.

He said: “Kalahari grows a little bit faster and attains 40 kilogrammes in eight months whereas the Mubende goat attains the same kilogram within two years. So in the short term, we want to reduce that time by doing a cross-breeding programme.”

He added that in the long term they want to come out with a stabilised breed developed from Mubende, Kalahari and the Small East African goat breeds.

“We want to take advantage of the benefits of this breed [Kalahari] because you find that the Kalahari breed grows very fast and when it comes to high heat areas, it performs very well yet the Mubende breed, much as they grow slowly, they are adapted to our environment,” he said.

Mulindwa was speaking at Maruzi Ranch which hosts National Livestock Resources Research Institute [NaLIRRI] headquarters, with focus on livestock research.

Dr Mulindwa said they have started assembling the goat breeds to be crossbred for improved beef production. He said the Kalahari goats imported from South Africa are getting used to the Ugandan environment.

He said Mubende goat is an indigenous breed from Kabale and Bundibugyo districts. “The breed has shiny, straight hair that is normally black or a mixture of black and white,” he said.

“Basically in the short term, which is period of about one to two years, we shall be in a position to generate crosses but in the long term which is about five generations, we shall have come up with a new stabilised breeds,” he said.

He said the stabilised breed will be registered as NARO’s and given out either to the National Animal Genetic Resources Centre and Data Bank or other agencies for multiplication.

Goat production is among the foremost agricultural activities that sustain the livelihoods of millions smallholder farmers and pastoral and agro-pastoral communities in Uganda.

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