Back to Library

Improving the livelihood of resource-poor goat farmers in Southern Africa through strategic drug and nutritional interventions against gastro-intestinal nematode infections

Published by:
Publication date
Type of Publication:
Focus Region:
Sub-Saharan Africa
Focus Topic:
Agricultural Value Chains / Agri-Businesses
Nutrition / Food Systems
Vatta, A.F.; Krecek, R.C.; Pearson, R.A.; Coop, R.L.; Harrison, L.J.S.

The Department for International Development (DFID) Animal Health Programme (AHP) is to fund a project (R8151) in South Africa from April 2002 for three years. It will test the hypothesis that under the farm management and agro-ecological conditions found in the resource-poor areas of the Republic of South Africa (RSA), the holistic approach of strategic anthelmintic treatment of gastro-intestinal nematode infections of goats and, or, additional supplementation of their diet with urea-molasses blocks will lead to sustainable and cost-effective improvements in health and the value of livestock products. The study will include an ex ante analysis to collect baseline socio-economic data, and on-station and on-farm trials. The first hypothesis is that a strategic treatment administered before the peak in faecal egg counts will lead to a lower worm burden and hence better production. The second hypothesis being tested is that supplementation with urea-molasses blocks leads to increased microbial protein post-ruminally. Less protein is then diverted from bone, muscle and fat deposition towards the processes of regeneration, repair and mounting of an immune response (in parasitised animals) and hence body weight is maintained. The third hypothesis to be tested, and which will provide particularly novel information, is that the interaction between appropriate nutritional supplementation with molasses-urea blocks and strategic anthelmintic treatments for gastro-intestinal parasitism will lead to measurable improvements in goat productivity. These three hypotheses will be investigated at Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute during the first year of the trial. The results of this trial will then be tested in the field and will investigate the fourth hypothesis that the benefit to production of the improved feeding and drug treatments will not be unduly affected by extrinsic management practices in a selected agro-ecological zone. The project includes the dissemination of current information on worm control during the course of the project as well as the results of the proposed research programme towards the end of the project.