Leveraging bio-active plants in smallholder goat production
Dr. Lovemore C. Gwiriri is a post-doctoral smallholder livestock systems research scientist at Rothamsted Research involved in agricultural systems socio-economic analysis. He researches the nexus of sustainable livestock systems, rural development, food security and livelihood resilience. He authored several articles and is an NFP fellowship and CAWR PhD scholarship recipient.
Smallholder households engage in goat production advancing climate variability resilience and portability as emergency assets. Goat health and performance are strongly limited by disease and poor nutrition, where parasite infection by gastrointestinal nematodes is often an underlying cause exacerbated by limited anthelmintic drugs access. Further, the non-economic impact of enhanced animal health on livelihoods is often underestimated. We evaluate the potential livelihood and goat health impact of locally accessible plant-based targeted selective treatment (TST) across 787 smallholders and 515 goats in Botswana. Goat ownership was strongly associated with a higher household's self-stated food security and asset ownership. Goats under plant-based TST achieved significantly (p < 0.05) higher mean weight gain and survival probability than those on conventional anthelmintic treatment. Improving goat health through local resources might have a positive impact on livelihoods.