Crossbreds Did Not Generate More Net Benefits Than Indigenous Goats In Ethiopian Smallholdings
Published 2003 · Economics
Abstract The assumption that crossbreds would be more productive than indigenous goats under improved management was behind a Dairy Goat Development Programme that introduced Anglo-Nubian×indigenous goats to smallholders in Ethiopian highlands between 1989 and 1997. The hypothesis was tested by collecting data on goat production, between July 1998 and June 1999, from farmers in the area. The net benefits of goats to a household were calculated by aggregating the value added by physical products (meat, manure, milk) to socio-economic benefits (saved interest/premium on credit/insurance) and deducting purchased inputs. The result was expressed as net benefit per unit of each major limiting resource: flock metabolic size, land, and labour. The unit net benefits from 33 flocks of indigenous goats under traditional management were compared with those from 35 mixed flocks of crossbred and indigenous goats under improved management in the Development Programme, using a fixed linear model to represent variation in unit net benefits per study group. Mixed flocks produced significantly higher unit net benefits than indigenous flocks for the available land and labour input. The assumption, that this superiority under improved management was due to the crossbred and not the indigenous goats, was then tested in 26 flocks containing both breed groups, and found to be false. The positive response of indigenous goats to improved management was confirmed in 29 flocks compared with 33 indigenous flocks under traditional management. It was concluded that household welfare could be improved in the crop–livestock mixed smallholder production system of the Ethiopian highlands by better management of indigenous goats without the extra organisational effort and cost of producing crossbreds. It remains to be seen if such improvements can be achieved without the incentive of exotic genotypes.