Livestock Research for Rural Development 28 (11) 2016 Guide for preparation of papers LRRD Newsletter

Citation of this paper

Goat production in the World: present situation and trends

B Skapetas and V Bampidis

Department of Agricultutal Technologists, School of Agricultural Technology, Alexander Technological Educational
Institute (ATEITHE), 57400 Thessaloniki, Greece


Goat numbers in the world during the period 2000-2013 were increased by 33.8%, with Asia to keep constantly the first place having a contribution about 59.4%. World goat milk production was increased by 39.2% during the period 2000-2012. In all continents, with exception Europe, was observed a significant increase in milk production. Oceania had the spectacular increase of 71.4%. The larger producers of goat milk in the world are India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sudan. World goat meat production, during the same period was increased by 41.66%. Asia has the larger contribution in the total meat production (70.7%). The leader country in goat meat production is China that produces 35.89% of the total world goat meat production. The mean goat carcass weight in world level is 12.0% with significant variation among the continents and different countries. The carcasses with higher weight are produced in Oceania. Worldwide goat raw skin production during the above period was increased by 44.93% with the greater increase in Oceania (116.39%). Among countries the larger producers of goat skins are China, followed by India, Jordan and Pakistan.

Key words: doe, milk production, meat production, skin production


Goats traditionally had a strong influence on the socio-economic life of human populations, especially in rural and less favored regions of the world. In these regions this livestock constitutes an important source of proteins by converting different natural resources of lower quality (Dubeuf et al 2004).

Due to their high tolerance to heat stress goats can be survive and produce in the most marginal regions of the world. On the other hand goats when are managed well contribute on the preservation of the ecosystems and can be used as an ecological tool for controlling the noxious weeds, reducing the incidences of wildfire, improving the rangelands and wild life habitat (El Aich and Waterhouse 1999).

Τhere was a constant increase of goat population of the world since the 60s, especially in the countries of low income, or less favored regions of the world. In these countries in the year 2000 existed 54.50% of the total goat number.

Nowadays goats and sheep face serious environmental challenges (degradation of rangelands, competition for land use, less water availability etc.). Οn the other hand climatic changes creates additional difficulties on the small ruminant farming (Marino et al 2016). So the needs of policy on more research, organization and extension are increased (Dubeuf 2011).

The aim of this article was to study the present situation and the trends of goat production in the world, especially during the period 2000-2012.

Materials and methods

The data of goat number, goat milk, meat and raw skins in the different continents and countries were taken from the FAO data base. These data are processed statistically and analyzed further in order to arrive in appropriate conclusions.

Results and discussion

Goat population

World goat number and its evolution is presented in Table 1. During the period 2000-2013 was taken place an important increase of goats worldwide (33.79% or an average per year 2.6%). The world sheep population at the same period increased only 10.74% (Faostat 2013). The growth rate of human population for the same period is about 10.7% indicating that the standard of life, especially in poor rural regions is improved. From the other hand the ratio sheep to goat in the year 2013 was (1/0.85), while in the year 2000 was 1/0.71, indicating that goats were increased more rapidly in comparison with sheep (Faostat 2013). It must be noted that this increase isn’t uniform in all continents and in all countries. During the 2013 in the low income countries existed about 58.87% of the total number of goats worldwide (Faostat 2013).

Among the continents, Asia constantly holds the first place having a contribution to the total goat population of 59.38% and an increase of goat number during the period 2000-2013 by 30.23%. Africa takes the second place with contribution 35% and increase, during the above period, 48.61%. In the Oceania is observed a spectacular increase in goats number (65.76%) during the same period. In Americas the increase was only 3.13%, while in Europe and the E.U.(28) was observed a relative decrease (Table 1).

Among the Asian countries the largest goat population exist in China, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Goats in China (182 890 670 heads) constitute the 18.19% of the total world goat population. The above countries together with Nigeria constitute the top five countries in the world with the largest number of goats. In the African continent the largest goat population exist in Nigeria, Sudan and Kenya.

Table 1. Goat population in the World (heads) in the years 2000 and 2013 (Faostat, 2013).

Goat population heads

Change %

Contribution %






458 521 280

597 151 616




236 852 594

351 978 256




2 396 231

3 972 060




18 940 725

16 487 290



Ε.U. (28)

14 509 183

12 411 308




34 921 551

36 013 781




751 632 381

1 005 603 003



In Americas the largest goat population exist in Brazil, Mexico and Argentina. In the European continent the largest goat population exist in Greece, Spain, Russian Federation and France. In some of the European countries during the period 2000-2013 was observed a significant increase in goat number (Netherlands 150.03%, Switzerland 44.0% and France 6.65%). On the other hand in Greece during the same period goat number was decreased significantly (-24.3%),

Milk production

The role of goat milk to human nutrition is important in many developing countries and especially in the Mediterranean, Eastern Europe, Middle East and South American countries (Haenlein 2004; Ribeiro and Ribeiro 2010).

A wide variety of products are manufacturing from goat milk such as different cheeses, butter, yogurt, fluid beverages etc. Goat milk has therapeutic and beneficial effects on the people that have allergy from cow milk (Haenlein 2004). Nowadays the market globalization and the policy of World Trade Organization is creating a price decrease in some specific areas of the world and the production diversification is recommended as a solution (Rubino et al 1999). On the other hand the greater portion of goat milk still is not widely traded, but is consumed locally (Dubeuf et al 2004).

Table 2. presents the evolution of goat milk production during the period 1990-2013 in different parts of the world. At the world level milk production was increased by 39.2% during the period 2000-212 with an average increase per year 3.27%. In the same period sheep milk was increased by 24.05% worldwide. The average increase of milk production per year during the period 1990-2000 was 2.84% (Faostat 2013). The produced milk per inhabitant and per year worldwide in 2012 was 2.53 kg. Meanwhile among the different countries of the world exist very high variation in this variable.

Among the continents Asia is constantly the larger producer of goat milk (contribution 58.35%), followed by Africa (contribution 24.14%), Europe (contribution14.21%) and Americas (contribution 3.31%). Oceania had a significant increase of goat milk production during the period 2000-2012 (+71.43), followed by Africa (55.13%), Asia (49.81%) and Americas (0.87%). In Europe and also in E.U.(28), on the contrary, during the same period the goat milk production was decreased (- 1.98 and -2.77, respectively). In Greece was observed the larger decrease of goat milk production (-21.80%), because of reduction of total goat number and also the decrease of goat farms number. Meanwhile, Greece takes the first place in Europe for goat milk production per inhabitant and per year (43.52 kg, Faostat 2013).

In Asia the larger producers of goat milk are India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Turkey. China, which possess the greatest number of goats in the world has limited production in goat milk, because the larger number of goats in this country are farmed for meat production. The African countries with the larger amount of milk are Sudan, Mali, Somalia, Kenya and Algeria. In the American continent the leader countries in goat milk production are Jamaica, Mexico and Brazil, while in Europe the larger producers are France, Spain and Greece. In Netherlands was observed a significant upward tendency for this product (Faostat 2013).

On the other hand the Netherlands are the leader country concerning the annually milk production per doe (798.4 kg), followed by France (686.6 kg), Spain (352.1 kg) and Israeli (304.8 kg). In world level milk yield of dairy goats is 90.4 kg (Faostat 2013).

Table 2. Evolution of goat milk production (tons) in the World during the period 1990 - 2012 (Faostat, 2013).



Contribution %

Milk/inhabitant kg/year








5 485 692

6 948 745

10 410 137





2 055 653

2 777 245

4 308 399












2 161 678

2 587 928

2 536 773




Ε.U. (28)

1 725 329

1 982 607

1 927 712





467 190

505 342

509 761





9 980 102

12 819 288

17 846 118




Meat production

Goats that are farmed for meat production constitute the major part of the world population. In developed parts of the world goats are considered, usually, as specialty or exotic livestock, whereas in the developing countries, especially those in South - East Asia and Africa goats constitute the major source of meat production (Dhanda et al 2003). Boer goat of South Africa is considered the only known breed that was selected for meat production. Other breeds that are good meat producers are Anglo-Nubian (dual purpose animals), Kiko of New Zealand, Damascus and Spanish. Another source of goat meat are different crosses between Boer bucks and dairy goats. Also many local breeds in different parts of the world have meat characteristics.

Goat meat is a good source of proteins and also has health benefits when is consumed in appropriate portions. In comparison of beef, has similar protein, lower fat, higher calcium, magnesium, potassium, similar iron and lower B12 and folate contents (Johnson et al 1995). On the other hand goat meat contains low amount of saturated fatty acids and cholesterol and it is a healthier alternative compared to other types of red meat (Ivanovic et al 2016).

Table 3. shows the evolution of goat meat production during the period 1990-2012. In world level goat meat production during the period 2000-2012 was increased by 41.66% (3.47% per year). During the same period sheep meat production was increased by 29.46% (Faostat 2013). The largest contribution in meat production has Asia (70.7%). Oceania has the higher increase of meat production (89.66%), followed by Asia (46.06%). In Europe goat meat production, during the same period was decreased by 6%, while in E.U (28) the decrease was 7.48%. The leader country in goat meat production in the world is China with 1 902 505 tons in 2012 (50.77% of Asia and 35.89% of the world meat production). The produced meat per inhabitant and per year during the year 2012 was higher in Asia (1.88 kg) and in the lowest level in Americas (0.14). It should be noted that among the different countries of the world exist tremendous differences in this variable. The number of slaughtered goats and the carcass mean weight of animals are given in Table 4. From the data of this Table is observed that in world scale were slaughtered 440 024 910 animals in the year 2012. The greater contribution in this number has Asia (68.42%), followed by Africa with 26.45%. The mean carcass weight of slaughtered animals worldwide is 12.0 kg. The higher goat carcass weight has Oceania (23.5kg) and the lower Europe (10.6 kg).

It must be noted that the greatest portion of goat meat production is not traded like other meats, but is consumed locally in the communities of developing countries. Also in developed countries the market structure has not been developed well for goat meat producers. Nowadays the traditional forms of goat meat consumption (religious feasts etc.) should be combined with modern habits of consumption.

The greater exporters of goat meat in 2012 are Australia (25 149 tons) and Ethiopia (12 306 tons), while the greater importers in the same year are U.S. (15 752 tons) and Bahrain (10 446 tons).

Table 3. Evolution of goat meat production (tons) in the World during the period 1990 - 2012 (Faostat, 2013).


Change %

Contribution %

Meat/inhabitant kg/year








1 728 968

2 565 559

3 747 229





660 184

905 211

1 273 847





13 108

14 345

27 207





138 421

125 257

117 744




Ε.U. (28)

99 288

94 566

87 495





114 708

121 282

134 309





2 655 389

3 741 654

5 300 336




Table 4. Slaughtered goats (heads) and carcass mean weight in the year 2012 (Faostat, 2012).


Μean carcass weight (kg)


301 053 054



116 389 706



1 217 890



11 110 223



9 024 383



10 254 037



440 024 910


Skin production

Leather from goat skin is used for bags, boots, gloves and other products that requires soft hide. Traditionally has been a preferable material for leather bookbinding. Untanned goat skins are used in different countries as containers for water, kefir, wine etc. High quality goat skins are provided from Black Bengal breed in Bangladesh.

In Table 5. is presented the goat raw skin production for the years 2000 and 2012. In the word level an increase of 44.93% was observed between the above two years. Among the continents Asia has the larger contribution (76.55%) in skin production followed by Africa with contribution 19.31%. Oceania had a spectacular increase in goat skin production with 116.39%. Among countries China is the larger producer (380 757 tones), followed by India, Jordan and Pakistan. Goat skin production in China constitutes 39.73% of Asia and 30.41% of the total world production. In Europe, Greece produced the 54.22% of E.U.(28) goat raw skins (Faostat 2013).

Table 5. Goat raw skin production (tons) in the World during the years 2000 and 2012
(Faostat, 2012).


Change %

Contribution %






651 182

958 446




164 581

241 615




3 599

7 788




21 919

20 170



Ε.U. (28)

17 236

15 737




22 700

23 955




863 980

1 252 174





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Received 2 September 2016; Accepted 6 September 2016; Published 1 November 2016

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