Small-scale Farmers’ Trait Preferences: Rearing Priority Setting for Small Stock in Bushbuckridge, South Africa

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Agholor A. Isaac, Kanayo Ogujiuba

Abstract

In most communal areas of Mpumalanga, goat rearing is predominant, with free range and intensive system of management. The study highlighted the socio-demographic characteristics of goat farmers, categorised local goat production and determined trait preferences of small-scale goat farmers in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga Province South Africa. The questionnaire survey elicited information from 330 smallholder goat farmers on a predetermined breeding objective, desirable traits preferences, with viable reasons considered when selecting goats (buck and does). The trait preference ranked   and considered for this study were phenotypic traits. Choice experiment model which is an empirical application of the Lancaster consumer theory was employed for this study. The appropriateness of the choice technique lies in the ability to breakdown preference data into marginal values.In choice experiment, preferences were measured directly and thereafter allied to utility. Goat farmers value a wide range of traits for buck and doe. The study found that production preferential traits and early maturity characteristics, such as body weight, were highly preferred and rated as important. Farmers also appreciated several attributes such as kidding survival, disease resistant, twinning rate, ease of kidding, milk production and sexual maturity for both buck and doe. Additionally, adored traits among all goat breeds surveyed were weighty body, fast growth, ease of kidding and prolificacy. Furthermore, thestudy recommended the amalgamation of breed-specifications and performance testing which may beassociatedwith goat selection.

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