The Syrian Jabali goat and its production system
The Jabali mountain goats inhabit the extremly unfriendly and harsh environment of western Syria, where they are kept by different ethnic groups, namely, the Alawits, Druses and Bedouins. The Jabali goat is a black goat, with dropping cars and a curved head; both sexes have horns. A survey was conducted in two different sites, namely, Al-Ghab in Hama district and in As-Sweida district. Forty-three household interviews were carried out to document the current production system. The system can be characterised as a low-input, mixed crop-livestock system. Goat keeping is only of minor importance to the household income compared to crop production or off-farm activities, but provide food in the form of milk, dairy products and meat for the family. Animals are kept on natural pasture most of the year; feed is only supplemented during winter. Farmers emphasise milk production. Milk products like ghee, Shinglish or Jameed are produced for home consumption and for sale. Major constraints mentioned by farmers are government policies for the conservation of forests, feed shortage and limited access to markets because of bad infrastructure and low market prices for their products. The fact that young people migrate to urban areas or work off-farm is seen as potential problem in the near future. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.