It is widely acknowledged that goats in developing countries fulfill multiple functions and can contribute to improved livelihoods of smallholders. The multi-functionality of goats in rural Mozambique however is fairly unknown.

This report identifies and creates a deeper understanding of the multiple functions goats currently play in the smallholders sector in Mozambique. The paper takes a sociological approach by advancing the thinking that the functions of goats are socially and culturally constructed, and not ‘given’.

Qualitative data were collected by means of historical timelines in six communities and individual in-depth interviews with 18 smallholder goat keepers (three per community) in Inhassoro district, Inhambane province. In addition, findings of the quantitative baseline household survey (n=83) were used.

Results showed four categories of goat functions in Inhassoro district, based on respondents’ perspectives: 1) sale in
times of need, 2) exchange for services and products, 3) social life, and 4) consumption.

Based on these findings, the paper discusses implications of the multi-functionality of goats for development projects, in which goats can function as financial saving and insurance, as contributors to food security, as contributors to social capital, and as commercial production commodities. Subsequently, the paper addresses a few fundamental questions about projects aiming to commercialize smallholder goat keeping, i.e. linking smallholders to markets.

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Goat rearing is an enterprise that is both suitable for poor households who own little or no land, and is resilient to climate change. Goats largely browse shrubs which are more tolerant of rainfall variations than the grasses eaten more by sheep, cattle and buffalo.

The project, Small ruminant value chains as platforms for reducing poverty and increasing food security in dryland areas of India and Mozambique (imGoats), was implemented in Udaipur district in Rajasthan from 2011 to 2013. The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) partnered with BAIF Development Research Foundation, an NGO, to implement the project.

The project worked with 2,685 goat-keeper households in two blocks of Udaipur district in Rajasthan. These were organized into 244 groups that were facilitated by 25 community based service providers called Bakri Mitra (field guides). These are local goat-keepers with some education who are trained on improved goat husbandry practices. They also are the link between the goat-keepers and the Animal Health Department staff with whom they work closely.

The biggest outcome of the project was adoption of improved practices regarding health, feed and breed management among the goat-keepers linked to improved market participation. The training of the Bakri Mitras was also an important step towards improving animal health service delivery in rural areas. Below we share the experience from a female Bakri Mitra named Roopi Bai.

The case of Roopi Bai – Bakri Mitra

Roopi Bai and Bherulal Garasiya, imgoats facilitators

Roopi Bai and Bherulal Garasiya

Roopi Bai lives in Galdhar village with her husband Bherulal Garasiya and their two sons and two daughters. She is the only woman among the 25 Bakri Mitra trained by the imGoats project. While Rajasthan is traditionally a male dominated society, Roopi Bai is able to work as a Bakri Mitra thanks to the support and encouragement of her husband. She works for 5 to 6 hours a day visiting a selection of the 40 households in Galder village. She also trained her husband to perform certain basic treatments so that he can provide the services in case she is not available. They both are knowledgeable and their skills are in demand.

While she always kept animals (as did her parents and everybody else in the village), she didn’t think that she could earn an income from her knowledge. Before training as a Bakri Mitra, she mostly spent her time at home running a small grocery shop (Kirana) and a flour mill, and also tailoring. She and her husband developed these activities step by step, learning on their own and following guidance from others such as the local teacher. Roopi Bai’s overall personality evolved over the period of the project in the following roles:

Group facilitation: Roopi Bai facilitates 4 goatkeeper groups (40 households). Her facilitation skills improved over time. Initially the group members were skeptical but after they saw her perform different activities and interact with veterinary officers, she gained their confidence.

Innovation: Roopi Bai participates in imGoats “innovation platform” meetings, and uses this as an opportunity to raise issues pertaining to her village. She helped developed and execute action plans, resulting in an expanded scope of activities of the innovation platform.

Group participation: A self-help group of Bakri Mitra was started in June 2013. The main purpose of the group is to be able to purchase veterinary drugs in larger quantities to save costs. Roopi Bai is the frontrunner in terms of the volume of medicines purchased. From December 2013 to March 2014, she purchased medicines worth Rs 2000, and also purchased an additional Rs 2000 of medicines from the local pharmacist to meet urgent requirements.

Entrepreneurship in service delivery: Roopi Bai was one of the first Bakri Mitras to start charging for her services and then convinced her colleagues to do the same. She has also expanded her services beyond her group members and is now assisting 100 households in her village.

While the amounts the Roopi Bai charges are small (Rs 15 to treat an injury, Rs 6 per animal for de-worming or vaccination), she is able to make a reasonable amount of money. She earned Rs1,000 per month for de-worming animals between September 2013 and April 2014. She also supported BAIF with PPR vaccination (the main killer disease in goats) and received Rs 2,848 for her services. Enterotoxemia (ET) vaccinations were given to about 300 animals in June 2014, giving her a net return of about Rs 1,000.

Roopi Bai receiving imgoats training materials

Roopi Bai receiving training materials


While her Bakri Mitra activities are still expanding, this still remains a secondary source of income for Roopi Bai and her husband. What is also important is her increased confidence in her interactions with people. She believes that her services are helping people to save their animals. Initially she used to go door to door to convince goat-keepers in her village to avail of her services. Now many of them bring their goats to her door-step to get them treated, especially for injuries. She feels this is a positive sign of the growing awareness of the benefits of health-care and also confidence in her ability to provide treatment.


This story was first published  by IFAD India in its November 2014 newsletter.

Story and pictures by R Bendapudi (BAIF), R.B. Patel (BAIF) and Saskia Hendrickx (ILRI)


The imGoats project (‘small ruminant value chains to increase income and food security in India and Mozambique’) was designed to increase incomes and food security in a sustainable manner by enhancing pro-poor small ruminant value chains in the two countries.

This ILRI research brief shares experiences of the project in using outcome mapping (OM) to improve planning, monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of a goat value chain development project in the two countries.

Results show that OM was very useful to monitor behavioural changes among value chain actors. It also contributed to effective management of the project. The approach suited both a relatively small project area in Mozambique (>500 households), with a strong emphasis on qualitative data, as well as a larger project area in India (>2500 households) where it helped improve data collection and analysis,and stimulate feedback mechanisms.

Data collection and analysis was resource intensive, and substantial adaptations were required based on organizational culture and capacity as well as project scale.

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The imGoats project (‘small ruminant value chains to increase income and food security in India and Mozambique’) was designed to increase incomes and food security in a sustainable manner by enhancing pro-poor small ruminant value chains in the two countries.

This ILRI research brief shares experiences of the project in using innovation platforms (IPs) to stimulate innovation and stakeholder interaction in goat value chains in the two countries.

Results show that platforms can enhance production and marketing by establishing linkages between smallholders and other actors, but they need careful assessment of and adjustment to local contexts.

This project shows that even in situations where a value chain is weak, enhanced multi-stakeholder interaction produces positive results in terms of an increase in production and commercialization.

Download the brief

It is almost a year since Kees Swaans presented this paper at an international workshop on New models for innovation for development held at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom in July 2013, but we are now pleased to share with you the open access article: Operationalizing inclusive innovation: Lessons from innovation platforms in livestock value chains in India and Mozambique.

The CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Systems contributed financially to make this an open access publication.

Citation: Swaans K, Boogaard B, Bendapudi R, Taye H, Hendrickx S and Klerkx L. 2014. Operationalizing inclusive innovation: lessons from innovation platforms in livestock value chains in India and Mozambique. Innovation and Development 4(2): 239-257.

Tezira Lore:

This new manual in Hindi on goat production and commercialization in India will be a useful resource for paraveterinary workers.

Originally posted on ILRI news:

Goats in Mozambique

Partners in a project in India and Mozambique to raise rural incomes through goat rearing have produced a manual to help paraveterinary workers and farmers, especially women and other marginalized groups, transform their goat raising from an informal activity to a viable commercially oriented enterprise.

The project, known as imGoats, or ‘Small ruminant value chains to reduce poverty and increase food security in India and Mozambique’; was conducted from 2011 to 2013 by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), India’s BAIF Development Research Foundation and Care International (Mozambique). It was funded by the European Commission through the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

Titled Goat Production and Commercialization, the manual takes the form of a flip chart, with visual aids, illustrations and simple explanatory texts on major topics related to goat rearing, including feeding and health, reproduction and commercialization. Information in the manual was produced by BAIF and Care International from…

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BG Rathod presents at workshop in Rajasthan

BG Rathod from BAIF-Rajasthan Rural Institute of Development Management presents on the commercialization experiences as part of the imGoats project (photo credit: ILRI/Saskia Hendrickx).

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), together with its imGoats implementing partner in India, BAIF, hosted a one-day Experience Sharing Workshop on Goat Development on 2 December 2013 in Udaipur, Rajasthan.

The meeting was attended by the director of the Animal Husbandry Department, Dr Maan, and 10 senior staff from the department, the dean of the Veterinary College Ballabhnagar, Dr RK Nagad, as well as representatives of another goat project in Rajasthan funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development, MPower. Also present were representatives from micro-finance institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and staff from other BAIF programs.

The objective of the workshop was to share the findings of the imGoats project and the related recommendations for policymakers. It also provided a platform for staff from other NGOs to share their experiences. There were some interesting discussions and the participants appreciated the opportunity to interact directly with officials from the Animal Husbandry Department.

Below are some of the workshop recommendations for policymakers:

  • improve animal health services through collaboration with NGOs to train animal health service providers at village levels whilst ensuring technical backstopping by the Animal Husbandry Department;
  • encourage organization of farmers through the establishment of producer groups, federations or cooperatives;
  • establish innovation platforms should be encouraged to ensure improved communication between value chain actors;
  • improving breeds — though important — should not come before improvements in health and feeding;
  • endorse establishment of markets at district level to encourage smallholder involvement; and
  • ensure that any production improvement is linked to improved sales of animals to minimize possible negative impact on the environment.

A similar meeting is scheduled for 18 December 2013 in Jharkhand State in Ranchi, the location of the second imGoats project site in India.


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