Farmers can’t meet whopping demand for goat-meat

Because of the outbreak of African swine fever that all but devastated pig-raising farmers who had to cull their herds or maintain strict sanitary quarantine standards, many rural homesteads are mulling a switch to goat-raising, reports newswire BNS Friday.

According to Latvia’s Goat-Raisers Association chair Kristīne Piliena there is an upsurge of interest in the field, both from the milk-producing and also the meat-producing sectors.

Despite attempts to popularize the prospective rural business niche and attract university students from the Academy of Agriculture in Jelgava to try their hand in the field, the number of goat farmers did not increase by a single registered homestead last year.

“A big problem is the reluctance of banks to credit our start-up capital needs, we are a risk group and they don’t have enough confidence in our ability to bring positive results. The banks seem to think we’ll do okay in the short-term, but the situation in the future could get worse,” she surmised.

She noted that in order to increase the number of the herd animals being raised nationwide, farmers themselves need to show some initiative to go into the business, otherwise all the association’s efforts will have been in vain.

“As an association we do what we can, but the farmer has to want to keep goats,” she said, adding that the sector has tremendous growth potential, but goat-keepers should think more about producing niche products that are in great demand.

According to Latvia’s goat-keepers’ business community spokeswoman there is no way the national sector could hope to meet the increasing foreign demand for goat-meat.

“The meat-processing plant in Jēkabpils called us time and again asking about goat-meat, but we don’t have enough animals to keep their needs supplied. They’ve been waiting two years for us to raise the necessary amount of animals,” the organization’s leader hinted.

She added that even the domestic market demand was entirely sufficient for local producers to satisfy, thus making the cooperation prospects with Norway’s market, where the Jēkabpils plant’s clients’ interest for our products has been going unmet all this time, for instance, was still but a far-off possibility.

The association was founded in 2006.

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