The demand for goat meat in Zimbabwe has seen a steady rise over the years with goat meat producers struggling to keep up with demand.
Zimbabwe recorded a seven per cent increase in goat population from 3 974 707 in 2020 to 4 259 176 in 2021.
This was revealed in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement 2021/22 Crop and Livestock Assessment Report.
Goats are not only valued for their meat, but for their milk and skins. They are also used during religious and cultural festivities.
University lecturer and food scientist, Makhosi Mahlangu, told the Chronicle that there are many health benefits of eating goat meat. He said:
In terms of nutrition, goat meat is healthier and leaner because it is not as fat as what cattle produce.
Goats are browsers and therefore when they browse you will realise that most of the plants that they eat have a lot of antioxidants.
You will find that the plants that goats eat get into their meat, making it much more superior compared to other meat forms.
There is also the issue of goat cheese which is much more nutritious than the one we get from cattle milk, and again that is a value chain.
He said goats consume a diverse range of trees which increase micronutrients like calcium, copper and potassium, which are transmitted straight into the human body. Added Mahlangu:
Goat meat, like many other types of red meat, is a rich source of protein that helps maintain muscular health.
It boasts a similar essential amino acid profile to that of chicken, beef and pork too.
All of this means that goat is lean meat that provides all the essential amino acids without adding any unnecessary calories.
Goat meat is rich in calcium and potassium too.
… Generally, goats walk a lot hence their meat turns out to be leaner.
Mahlangu said goat meat has several micronutrients that are of great benefit to the human body. He said:
Nutrients such as selenium and choline, are powerful antioxidants that reduce the risk of developing cancers and heart disease.
In terms of fat, it is reduced as it is more deposited within the meat.
… In fact, goat meat can be consumed by a number of different religions, whereas pork or beef might be an issue with some religions.