Brazil Gets an Arab Hand on Goat Raising

Brazil is testing a kind of food that is originally from the Arab countries in the raising of goats and sheep in semi-arid zones. The fodder being tested is multinutritional blocks, a mixture of foods with forage, grain and molasses, which is made into the form of a block, with the use of cement, and distributed in semi-arid zones for animal feed.

The cement, used in small quantity to link the ingredients, is not harmful to animals.

According to Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) researcher, Ana Clara Cavalcante, research for the use of blocks in Brazil started around two years ago and have already been tested in the northeastern Brazilian state of Pernambuco. "We are starting to use the blocks," stated the researcher.

Technologies turned to conservation of vegetation and animal raising in the semi-arid were discussed on Monday, June 12, and Tuesday, June 13, in an international workshop in the city of Fortaleza, capital of the northeastern Brazilian state of Ceará. The meeting included 30 researchers and students from Latin America and countries like Indonesia, Scotland and Syria.

The International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) which is in Aleppo, Syria, sent Luiz Inigues, coordinator of the institute’s programs in Brazil, Venezuela and Mexico, to the meeting in Bolivia.

The exchange of experiences that make it possible to maintain the ecosystem of the semi-arid in countries that have these zones was the main objective of the meeting. Degradation of arid, semi-arid and dry-subhumid zones causes desertification, an environmental phenomenon that is of great concern worldwide, including in Brazil.

According to Ana Clara, sheep and goats are the animals that are most bread in the semi-arid zones, mainly as they adapt easily and to the kind of vegetation in the region.

Currently, these animals are very much used for the consumption of the families that raise them. The Embrapa objective, and that of the global researchers in the area, however, is also to make them a source of income for these populations. For this reason, however, it is necessary for new technologies to be applied in production, like food supplements.

Among the options presented at the seminar in Ceará are the multinutritional blocks used in Arab countries like Syria and Tunisia. Another topic discussed was the fodder used in Brazil to feed sheep and goats, which is a mixture of silage and hay.

According to Ana Clara, in Brazil the main use for sheep and goats is production of meat. In the Arab countries, mainly Syria, however, they are used more for dairy production.

The international researchers who participated in the seminar learnt about the semi-arid region in the Northeast of Brazil and about the technologies that are being applied by the Embrapa in the region, among them manuring and new plant species.

The seminar was promoted by ICARDA and by the Embrapa, with the support of the National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA), based in Argentina, and was financed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (FIDA).

Anba – www.anba.com.br

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