A goat is the poor man’s cow in the northeast because of its nutritious and wholesome milk. Goat rearing is a secondary source of income in the rural areas but can certainly be made the primary one as well. It forms an important component of the integrated farming system. The best goat breeds suitable for commercial farming are Assam Hill and Bengal goats.
- As the people of Northeast are mostly tribal people, goat meat has great demand in these areas.
- A Goat can give birth to upto four kids at a time.
- Assam breed is the hardest one and is reared primarily for meat.
- Grass is the major fodder eaten by it.
- Agricultural by-products are also consumed as feed by goats.
- They are mainly fed grass, shrubs, weeds, thorny plants, pods, tree leaves, etc.
- Goats are very resilient by nature and can adapt to harsh climatic conditions, which makes them ideal for rearing in the North East areas.
- Sale of goats takes place in the local market and also at the doorsteps of the farmer.
- A goat-farm can be started with very low investment.
- Goat feed cost is much less than pig or fowl feed cost
- Individuals and local traders buy goatskin for making products from it.
- One of thegoat diseases that cause devastation to goat herds is Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE) which is incurable and contagious. To prevent that infection, one should buy only CAE – free goats.
- Anthrax (caused by bacteria). To prevent this, the dead goat should be buried immediately after its death and the other goats should be inoculated from time to time to ensure immunity.
- Tapeworm (endo-parasitic). Periodic deworming should be carried out to prevent this.
- Lice teak (ecto-parasitic). To prevent this, goat houses should be cleaned regularly and the floors should be kept dry.
Goat rearing plays a great part in the socio-economic development among the population in the rural areas. People with low income or limited farming land can look at it as a viable alternative for livelihood in the NorthEast.