South Africa has a thriving goat industry, consisting of fiber, meat and dairy‐producing goat breeds. These animals play an important role in terms of food security, socioeconomic welfare and cultural well‐being. The South African goat industry is differentiated into a formal, commercial market with niche products such as mohair, chevon and goat’s cheeses versus the informal, mainly meat‐producing sector serving communal and smallholder farmers. Exotic and locally improved breeds, i.e., Angora, Saanen and Boer goats mainly serve the commercial industries, whereas the unimproved veld goat populations are well adapted in the resource‐poor environments. Genetic improvement has historically been limited to the commercial breeds, but poor participation in animal recording and improvement schemes have resulted in slow genetic progress, with the exception of the Angora goat. Molecular research has opened up new possibilities for genetic characterization, preservation and utilization of the unique genetic resources retained by these animals.
Part of the book: Goat Science