By James Tababa
Jomary Nuqui believes in the potential of the goat raising industry in the Philippines. With the decreasing number of people engaging in agriculture, he wants to be one of the youth to support and strengthen the industry.
Nuqui is a 22 year-old agriculture student at Pampanga State Agricultural University who now focuses on goat raising in Concepcion, Tarlac. Nuqui began to take an interest in backyard goat raising when his neighbor sold him some goats in 2019. He wanted to raise goats as part of being an agriculture student and resell them afterward for a higher price.
“At first, I didn't have the plan to start a goat farming business. My only goal is to study how to raise a goat and make it into a small profit investment,” he said. “But after a while, I noticed that there is a profitable market for goat raising.”
Nuqui recently trained in the Binhi ng Pag-asa Program, a livelihood program for youth under the Agricultural Training Institute Regional Training Center Central Luzon with the Office of Senator Grace Poe and the Local Government Unit of Tarlac.
Upgraded native goats
Nuqui started his goat-raising business with three upgraded goats bought from his neighbor for 11,500 pesos. The goats do not have certification of breeding origins, but he said that the goats are heavier than native goats and resemble characteristics of imported superior breeds. Hence, they still refer to these goats as upgraded. He is currently managing 40 heads of upgraded and native goats.
Upgraded goats are native goats crossed with other imported breeds with superior traits. “We are upgrading our native goats to… increase milk reproduction and get their target weight fast. This way, we can earn the return on investment more quickly,” Nuqui explained in Tagalog. Nuqui also added that upgraded native goats are the best breed for buyers who are looking for goat meat because it is cheaper than pure-bred goats.
Nuqui is working on upgrading his goats to improve the weight potential of the offspring. He stated that upgrading is the current trend in goat raising. That is why he is always looking for good quality male goats or bucks with Anglo-Nubian or Boer breeds.
Goat raising management
Aside from having a pair of goats to start the business, it is also important to provide housing. This is to provide shelter at night and protection from the rain. Nuqui built his goat housing using bamboo slats and coco lumber, which are cheap and locally available.
The feeding method Nuqui implements is full grazing during the dry season. Goats are grazed in the open field from 10 AM and then returned to their housing at 5 PM. During the rainy season, goats are kept inside the housing. Napier and guinea grasses that grow on the riverside are cut and carried out for feeding. Keeping the goats inside their housing and using the cut and carry method for feeding is done to prevent them from having diseases when their grazing area is wet.
According to Nuqui, female goats, or does, are ready to be bred at the age of eight months. After successful conception, it will take 150 days of gestation before the delivery of the offspring. The mother goat will take care of its young for another three months before it can be bred again.
The offspring can be sold after four to six months for breeding purposes and eight to twelve months if it is for consumption. Good-quality females are kept for breeding, and male goats are usually sold for meat. Goats for meat are sold by their live weight and must weigh at least 18 to 25 kilos.
The goats are often bought by regular buyers like goat butchers, middlemen, and start-up backyard goat raisers. Nuqui said goat meat is a popular dish served during celebrations and festivities. That is why there are a lot of walk-in buyers looking for goats.
Nuqui utilizes social media for marketing. He posts on Facebook to attract more customers. Customers are then invited to his farm to ensure the quality of the goats that they are buying.
Customers have the option to pick up their order or they also have an opportunity for the goat to be transported to the slaughterhouse or farm.
The need for more goat raisers
Nuqui plans to expand the area for production and to become a learning site for goat raising. He hopes that his farm will encourage and help more youth engage in goat raising.
“First, there is money in goat raising. Second, youth should engage in farming because the average age of farmers is 57-60 years old,” Nuqui explained. He worries that no more people will engage in agriculture in the future. The youth should be making a move to attain the country’s food security.
Nuqui said, “There is a high demand for goats, but the supply is very low.” This is one compelling reason why the youth should take this opportunity to have an interest in goat raising.
Goat raising is a challenging business. It requires a lot of hard work. But Nuqui said, “The key to success is passion and love for what you are doing. “
Photo courtesy of Jomary Nuqui