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Meat goats


The latest annual Goat Market Value Chain Profile, compiled by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), provides an excellent overview of goats in South Africa. Find this document under the Directorate Marketing web pages at

The unimpressive goat is, in reality, one of nature’s most useful animals. It can be used for meat, fibre, milk, skins and manure. Owing to its great adaptability it can survive almost anywhere in South Africa.

  • Goat milk is highly prized for its quality of being less prone to cause allergies in humans than cow’s milk.
  • Mohair is one of the rare noble fibres of the world.
  • The Boer goat’s meat contains less fat, fewer calories and higher levels of protein and iron than meat from beef, pork, lamb and chicken. It is often called “chevon”, and from young animals, “cabrito”.

This article looks at the meat aspect and the information that is common to all goat enterprises, whether they be meat, mohair or milk. See the separate pages that are more specific to mohair and goat milk.

International business environment

South Africa is a relatively minor role player when it comes to goats, possessing approximately 3% of Africa’s goat population and less than 1% of the world’s. China, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are the major goat producing countries. In Africa, Nigeria, Sudan and Kenya are where you will find most of the continent’s goats.

The developing world accounts for some 96% of the world’s goats. Developed countries are the dominant market for goat products though. Were production systems to be improved, this has the potential to become a major earner of foreign exchange for developing countries.


Further reference:


South Africa: exports and imports

Goats were included in a study undertaken by the Trade Research Advisory on the opportunities for various industries to grow and/or diversify their exports. Refer to article “Study highlights potential export markets for South African, SADC products” (May 2022) under the last heading.

TradeProbe 86 (August 2021) included the feature “South Africa’s goat industry and its prospects to supply local and international markets”.

In the 26 February 2019 briefing, Mr Mike Mlengana, then Director-General (DG) of the Department, said that Saudi Arabia wished to source one million goats per year from South Africa. DALRRD was working hard to ensure that this demand was met, was fully supporting the black commercialisation programme, and the black farmers involved had been identified. Find the Parliamentary Committee briefing at

Find the “Marketing”, “International / Export” menu options on

Local business environment

The Goat Market Value Chain Profile provides information on the local business environment. Find it on the Directorate Marketing, web pages at

The Eastern Cape (39%), Limpopo (17%) and KwaZulu-Natal (13%) are the largest goat producers, with nearly 70% of the total production (DALRRD, 2023).

Commercial farming is done with Boer goats and Angora goats. Small-scale producers mainly work with indigenous goats in a communal farming system.

The Boer goat, Savanna and Kalahari Red are currently recognised as commercial goat breeds for the production of meat and skins and small quantities of cashmere. Mohair is produced from Angora goats. Saanen, Toggenburg and Alpine goats are mainly kept for milk production. Gorno Altai goats produce cashmere. The several indigenous breeds are very well adapted to South African conditions, and seldom get foot rot. Some types are also resistant to Heartwater.

Almost all goats are marketed live. The marketing channels for live goats in South Africa are

  • Live animal auctions
  • Carcass auctions
  • Out-of-hand sales (buyers buy directly from producers)
  • Transactions by means of Liaison Services (agents who connect people but do not handle money in the process)
  • speculators

Goat’s meat has traditionally been consumed mainly by the Muslim and rural African sectors of the population.

Slaughtering of goats at abattoirs is recorded with sheep, so figures are difficult to gauge. Most goats are slaughtered on an informal basis and/or for traditional purposes (weddings and funerals). The commercial sector is responsible for less than one percent of the goats slaughtered in the country. The informal market of goats thus drives the South African goat industry.

It has long been a hope that Boer goat farming and exporting will attract thousands of black emerging and small-scale farmers. Local herds and breeding material have been too small to meet overseas demands.

Farming with goats

Find the Boer Goat Management option at and other useful resources under the “Websites and publications” heading.

National strategy and government contact

Goats have featured in various national and provincial government initiatives, be it national strategies like the old Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (AsgiSA) or provincial ones by bodies such as the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development or the Ntinga OR Tambo Development Agency. Watch the video of the uMsinga Goat Project in KwaZulu-Natal at

Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) Directorate: Animal Production. Goat statistics can be found on (find the Statistics menu option under the publications at “Resource Centre”).


Role players


Note: Click to expand the headings below. To get a free listing on our website like the ones below, visit here for more information or place your order hereDisclaimer: The role player listings are not vetted by this website.

Kalahari Kid Corporation – It works with co-operatives and emerging farmers. Kalahari Kid Corporation also offers a training programme for emerging farmers wishing to specialise in goat production through the Kalahari Kid Training Programme, which is a SETAaccredited training programme in the Northern Cape.
Embryo Plus – Read about the Boer Goat and Kalahari Red under “Info” and then “Other” on the website.
 Representative Bodies
 Training, Consulting & Research Service Providers
 Community, NGO and NPO Service Providers

Further reference:

Agricultural Colleges, working closely with the Provincial Departments of Agriculture, offer courses on goat production. Examples include Cedara, Fort Cox and Glen College. Find contact details of all Agricultural Colleges on the “Agricultural education and training” page.

Websites and publications

Visit the websites listed earlier on this page e.g. and


Some articles

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