Goat farming: an emerging agribusiness opportunity
Authors: Saikat Maji and Dr. B S Meena
NDRI, Karnal


Goats are often seen as indispensible part of rural economy, particularly in the arid, semi-arid and mountainous regions of the country which provide food and nutritional security to the millions of marginal and small farmers and agricultural labourers. With more than 124 million populations, goats account for more than 25 per cent of the total livestock in the country and contribute Rs 1, 06,335 million annually to the national economy. Traditionally, goat rearing is taken up as subsistence or additional income support activity by rural poor (Kumar and Deoghare, 2002); but now a day's commercial goat farming becoming increasingly popular among all type of farmers. Goat rearing has been found equally rewarding under both intensive and semi-intensive systems of management given the shrinking of resources for extensive grazing based goat farming. But this form is still popular and profitable in mountainous and riverine ecosystem especially for resource poor farmers.

Goats are mainly used as meat-producing animals in India, whose meat (chevon) has huge domestic demand. Along with meat, goats provide other products like milk, skin, fibre and manure also. The popularity of goat milk is also rising as Goat milk is finer than cow milk i.e. the fats and proteins are present in a finer state and are more easily digestible, especially by children and olds. Due to fast socio-economic changes throughout last decades, a rapid shift has taken place in the dietary habits in favour of non-vegetarian diet. With rising per capita income, growing urbanization and unfolding globalization are boosting the demand for high-value commodities including meat (Birthal and Joshi, 2006). As a result the domestic market price for chevon/mutton has risen from Rs 80-100 per kg to Rs 250-300 per kg over a decade.

Moreover, there is an excellent opportunity for enhancing export of live goat/sheep and their meat in East and South-East Asia in the next 20 years from India (Dalgado et al., 1999).

However, the productivity of goats under the prevailing traditional production system is very low (Singh and Kumar, 2007) along with low adoption of improved production technologies/ management practices in the farmers' flock. Commercial goat farming under intensive and semi intensive system also required use of improved technologies, particularly prophylaxis, superior germplasm, low cost feeds and fodders, and innovative marketing of the produce for successful commercial goat production.

Why goat farming is potentially profitable:

The goat is a multi-purpose animal producing meat, milk, hide, fibre and manure. In hilly areas, goats are also used for hauling light loads.
Goats can be raised by landless agricultural labourers, ladies and children because they can thrive well on variety of leaves, shrubs, bushes, kitchen waste etc.
The initial investment needed for Goat farming is low. They are cheaper to maintain, easily available and have a friendly disposition.
Goats are capable of adapting to various agro-climatic conditions ranging from arid dry to cold arid to hot humid. They can be raised in plains, hilly tracts, sandy zones and at high altitudes.
In drought prone areas risk of goat farming is very much less as compared to other livestock species.
Due to small body size and docile nature, housing requirements and manage mental problems with goats are less.
Goats are prolific breeders and achieve sexual maturity at the age of 10-12 months gestation period in goats is short and at the age of 16-17 months, it starts giving milk. Twinning is very common and triplets and quadruplets are also happened.
Unlike large animals in commercial farm conditions both male and female goats have equal value.
Under proper management, goats can improve and maintain grazing land and reduce bush encroachment (biological control) without causing harm to the environment.
Goats are 2.5 times more economical than sheep on free range grazing under semi-arid conditions.

Starting a profitable goat farming business:

In India, revenue wise goat farming is very popular among the small and marginal farmers and even to landless farmers. You can start goat farming as a home based business opportunity from your backyards or you can initiate a full-scale goat farming business with a substantial capital investment. Before starting a commercial goat farming business, proper skill and knowledge is important. It is better to start goat farming business in small scale and as your business grow steadily, plan for expansion.

Breed selection for goat farming

In the traditional flocks, 75-80 per cent of the total investment was made in acquiring the breeding stock There are different breeds out there which are considered as profitable breed. But basically, it depends hugely on the region and climate of the location. There are 20 well-defined breeds of goat in the country. The Sirohi, Barbari, Osmanabadi and Black Bengal were the important breeds of goats reared by the commercial goat farmers. Osmanabadi was exclusively reared in Maharashtra, but has recently started spreading to other states like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. The Sirohi is the most popular breed, particularly in the semi-arid and arid parts of the country. Some commercial farms in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu also adopting South African Boer-cross goats. The cross of Boer and Osmanabadi gained a body weight of 24-30 kg at the age of 6 months, which is higher than that of the average Osmanabadi goat. However, a well-maintained pure Osmanabadi kid obtained from a good quality parents on the commercial goat farms also gained a body weight of 21-25 kg at the age of six months. In inter-breed comparisons, the mortality rate was lower in Sirohi and Osmanabadi than Barbari and Black Bengal. The medium and large sizes of goats reared under intensive system for commercial production should attain more than 25-kg body weight at the age of 6-7 months for achieving their full economic potential (Singh, 2006).

Goat breeding

For profitable goat farming there should be 3 kidding for 2 years. Goat with faster growth rate and larger size should be used for breeding. Does of one year age should be used for breeding. Does should breed after 3 months of kidding then only there will be 3 kidding for 2 years.

Location & housing for goat farming:

A properly cleaned, hygienic and spacious shed is required for the better growth of goats. In general, it is recommended to provide 10 square feet for a single goat accommodation. It is advisable to use bricks and cement for the shed wall. 12 feet of height must be maintained and proper ventilation is needed. For the roof area use the better quality of asbestos which is good heat absorbent in summer. Create one water reservoir or cemented tank to provide fresh drinking water supply to goats every time. It should be outside of the shed area.

Feed and fodder planning for goat farming:

The expenditure on feed and fodder may account for up to 59 per cent of the total variable cost in case of commercial goat farming. One acre of fodder is enough to feed 35 goats. Goats are fond of leguminous fodders. They do not take fodders like sorghum and maize silage or straw. They also need grains like wheat, maize corns and some pulses. Apart from they need high mineral compositions. Feeding protein rich green fodder such as acacia, leucerne and cassava and are important sources of dietary nitrogen. Grazing of goats is very important for this a surplus grazing area should be there for proper movement of the goats which helps in their digestion and enhance metabolism. . Oil cake is the good supplement for goats. Giving proper balanced diet with the right ratio in important in goat feeding.

Table1: Composition of Mineral mixture added at 2 % for goats
a. Sterilized bone meal 35 Parts
b. Finely ground high grade limestone 45 Parts
c. Iodized salt 20 Parts
d. Copper sulphate 22 gms/ton mineral mixture
e. Zinc Oxide 11 gms/ton
f Ferrous Carbonate 11 gms/ton

Health & Care in goat farming:

Goats need to be watched and treated early and fast. Goats can get sick very easily and they die very fast. Always vaccinate goats timely. Emergency medications should be kept available on hand. Two hours difference in giving a medication may mean the difference between life and death. Here, some standard vaccine rules:





Foot & Mouth Disease All cloven-footed animals Polyvalent FMD vaccine 3 ml. S/C
Anthrax All species of animals Anthrax spore vaccine 1 ml. S/C
Enterotoxemia (ET) Sheep & Goat ET Vaccine 5 ml. S/C
Contagious Caprine Pleuro Pneumonia (CCPP) Sheep & Goat IVRI Vaccine 0.2 ml. S/C
Peste Des Pettis Ruminants (PPR) Sheep & Goat PPR Vaccine 1 ml. S/C
Rabies All species of animals Rabies Post Bite Vaccine 1 ml. S/C

Credit availability for goat farming

NABARD is providing loans for goat growers in a large scale. The loans need to be repaid in suitable half yearly/annual installments usually within a period of about 5-6 years with a grace period of one year. The minimum down payments collected from small farmers are only 5% of the total investment. For marginal and large farmers down payments are 10 and 15% respectively.


For a price of one cross breed cow one can purchase more than 15 quality goats. Goats and their kids can be sold and encashed anytime. Because of shorter gestation period (150 days) their population increases rapidly. From one adult goat 1 kg manure is produced in 24 hours. The rich goat manure is also ideal for fertilizing fishponds and crop and can also be used for vermin composting. Thus it can be a very economical and profitable business enterprise for all type of farmers and for specially resource poor farmers.


1. Kumar, S and Deoghare, P.R (2002). Goat rearing and rural poor: A case study in south-western semiarid zone of Uttar Pradesh. Annals of Arid Zone, 41(1): 79-84.
2. Birthal, P.S. and Joshi, P.K (2006). High Value Agriculture for Accelerated and Equitable Growth: Policy Brief. No. 24, National Centre for Agricultural Economics and Policy Research, New Delhi, December.
3. Dalgado, C., Rosegrant, M., Steinfedl, H., Ehui, S and Courbois, C (1999). Livestock to 2020- The Next Food Revolution. Food, Agriculture and Environment Discussion Paper 28, IFPRI, Washington.
4. Singh, N.P. and Kumar, S (2007). An alternative approach to research for harnessing production potential of goats. Proceedings of 4th National Extension Congress, JNKV, Jabalpur, 9-11 March.

About Author / Additional Info:
Carrying out research on organic crop and dairy farming in NDRI, Karnal