Goats have been reared in Bangladesh from the time of human settlement in this part of the earth. They stand second in number among the ruminant species. The population of goats in Bangladesh currently includes about 18 million animals, which are dispersed throughout the country. The average number of goats per household is 2.3 and they are mostly reared by landless, small and medium farmers, as shown in the figure. Goats are used primarily for meat production, but their skin is a valuable by-product.
The country has a native goat breed commonly known as the Black Bengal goat, exotic breeds such as the Sirohi, Beetal and Jamnapari, and crossbreds between the Black Bengal goat and exotics. Black Bengal goats are found all over the country. They can be classified into 3 sub populations; Bangladesh West (BBW), Bangladesh Central (BBC) and Bangladesh East (BBH); according to their geographical distribution. The exotic breeds and crossbreds are concentrated in the western part of the country and in some specific areas of central and eastern Bangladesh. Sirohi and Beetal bucks are imported by the farmers privately and used mainly for crossbreeding purposes. In the absence of any census, it is very difficult to know the exact population number of each population or breed. However, Black Bengal goats are clearly predominant.
Despite the name, the coat colour of Black Bengal goats is not black in all cases. At least seven recognizable coat colour patterns can be found:, solid black, solid white, black with “Toggenburg pattern” of spotting, brown with “Toggenburg pattern” of spotting, black with “Dutch belt” spotting, silver bezoar, and brown bezoar wild-type pattern. Coat colour is controlled by epistatic genes. The frequency of each colour pattern varies depending upon the location. Different populations also differ in size, with adult animals ranging from 42 to 56 cm at the withers. The exotic breeds exhibit their breed-specific characteristics.
Polymorphism of the blood proteins polymorphism of Bangladeshi goats was studied by Kutsumata and co-workers in 1984. Out of 33 blood protein and enzyme loci examined, they found polymorphism at 7 loci: Hb-II, Tf, Alp, PA-3, Amy, MDH and LDH-A. They concluded that Black Bengal and Jamnapari goats had the same evolutionary origin and classified them as Indian goats.
The genotyping of all recognized distinct Bangladeshi goats using microsatellites and other DNA markers is in progress. The aim of this work is to clarify the genetic constitution of the different populations of Bangladeshi goats and to compare them with breeds in other Member States. This research work is part of the CRP on “Gene based technologies in Livestock Breeding: Phase I – Characterization of Small Ruminant Genetic Resources in Asia”.
The productivity in terms of growth rate and reproductive efficiency has been investigated by a number of scientists. The BBC has been most thoroughly studied. The BBC is a dwarf goat; with an average live weight of approximately 15 kg (at 12 months of age); birth weight ranging from 0.98 to 1.1 kg; maximum growth rate per day is 50 g and dressing percentage of about 43%. No scientific information on growth rate and reproductive efficiency on the other Black Bengal populations or exotic breeds and crossbreds is available at this moment.
Goats in Bangladesh are typically reared as scavengers. They are used like a cash crop and farmers usually sell them at the time of particular financial need or during festivals of Muslim and Hindu people. With the growing human population and demand for cereal food, the fallow lands used for natural grazing of goats are reducing day by day. Therefore, the traditional goat rearing system in Bangladesh is under threat. Farmers are now trying to adapt and rear goats under intensive management systems. The husbandry and genotypes of goats, however, need to be developed and adapted to this new system. At the same time, appropriate technologies should also be developed. This success of this work will dictate the prospects of goat production in Bangladesh in the coming years.
Source: M.O.Faruque, Department of Animal Breeding & Genetics, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh, Bangladesh. firstname.lastname@example.org