Goat, the poor man’s cows, fit in amicably to achieve the inter-dependent objectives of poverty alleviation, availability of food, creation of employment and growth in rural income. The livelihood security of an incredibly large number of farm families is linked to livestock. Majority of small and marginal farmers derive their livelihood from goats. India with 135 million goats is one of the largest goats owning country in the world and playing a significant role in livelihood and nutritional security as well as providing supplementary income to nearly 70 million farmers of over 5,00,000 remote villages. Goat meat production in the country has increased from 0.47 to 0.59 million tons during the last decade (2002 to 2011) with an annual growth rate of 2.4%.
Similarly, goat milk production in the country has also increased from 3.6 to 4.7 million tons during the same period with an annual growth rate of 2.6 %. The country stands first in goat milk production and is the second largest in goat meat in the world by sharing 29% & 12% production, respectively. Goat meat (Chevon) is most preferred and widely consumed meat in the country. Since ancient times goat milk has traditionally been known for its medicinal properties and has recently gained importance in human health due to its proximity to human milk for easy digestibility and it’s all round health promoting traits. The goat sector contributes 8.4 % to the India’s livestock GDP i.e. 38,590 crores through meat (Rs. 22,625 crores), milk (Rs. 9,564 crores), skin (Rs. 1491crores), manure (Rs. 1,535 crores) and others Rs 3,360 crores. The goat husbandry also generates about 4.2% rural employment to the small, marginal farmers and landless laborers.
Women are also benefitted by goat rearing being the main custodian in rural areas, especially in Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Rajasthan, NEH and many tribal regions of the country. In the recent years, commercial goat farms have emerged in different parts of the country providing substantial income to the progressive farmers.