Written by Anna Marie P. Alo, DOST-PCAARRD S&T Media Service

Goat raising, a practical business venture requiring low initial capital, is not popular among farmers as a livelihood option due to their lack of proper skills and motivation to improve goat management.

To change farmers’ perception towards goat raising, the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD), together with its partners spearheaded the Farmer Livestock School on Goat Enterprise Management (FLS-GEM).

Designed by DOST-PCAARRD, the FLS-GEM is a six-month modality that teaches farmers how to integrate the science behind proper goat management and incorporate the concept of entrepreneurship into production.

The modality is currently being adopted by local government units (LGUs) in eight regions around the country specifically Regions 1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 10, 12, and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR). It has also been adopted by the Federation of Goat and Sheep Producers and Associations of the Philippines, Inc. (FGASPAPI) as its national training modality effective 2014.

Goat raising only requires a low initial capital and can provide high return on investment in just two years. In addition, goat is a healthy food alternative as it is high in iron and protein but low in calories, total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol.

More than 3,000 families have benefited from the modality. Other than providing livelihood opportunities to these families, the FLS-GEM has improved individual and social competencies of participating farmers. The farmers who participated in the training were recognized as sources of quality goat stocks and were tapped as speakers by LGUs, the Department of Agriculture (DA), and were even interviewed on TV about goat raising.

The FLS-GEM involves a series of half-day trainings held for six months. The training module includes two volumes: Volume 1 for the session guides and 2 for the technical handouts.

A discovery-based scientific approach to agricultural extension adapting the farmer field school (FFS) methodology, the FLS-GEM is envisioned to encourage community participation on self-learning in the promotion of mature technologies in the countryside.

With the success of the modality, the Philippine Carabao Center of the Department of Agriculture (DA) is now developing its own FLS on dairy buffalo production using DOST-PCAARRD’s FLS-GEM as framework.

Goat enterprise management, among other programs, is one of the Council’s initiatives to improve the state of R&D in the agriculture, aquatic and natural resources sectors. This is in keeping with its commitment under DOST’s Outcome One: to provide science-based know-how and tools that will enable the agricultural sector to raise productivity to world-class standards.