Farmers' Perception of Water Availability for Goat Production in Southern Jordan
Ja'far Al-Khaza'leh, Christoph Reiber, Anne Valle Zárate
University of Hohenheim, Inst. of Animal Production in the Tropics and Subtropics, Germany
Goats are well adapted to the diverse agro-ecological zones in Jordan and play a significant role for the food security of rural households. Provision of sufficient quantity of good quality drinking water is important for goats to maintain feed intake and production. Jordan is among the poorest countries in the world in terms of water scarcity with no positive prognosis due to its vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. This study aimed to assess water availability for goat production as perceived by farmers in the southern agro-ecological zones of Jordan. Data were collected from a total of 120 of purposely selected goat keepers (59 and 61 in mountain and semi-desert zones, respectively) from June to October 2012 using a survey based on structured questionnaires, group discussions and secondary data. The mean ranks for constraints of goat production were calculated based on the priority of problem importance perceived by respondents. The results showed that the top ranked problems limiting goat production in the mountain zone were feed shortage, disease, drinking water shortage and high feed prices, while in the semi-desert zone the top ranked constraints were high feed prices, feed shortage, rangeland shortage and water shortage. The majority of respondents in both zones perceived water as being scarce for goats particularly during the dry season. Long travel distances to the water sources, long waiting time at watering points and high fuel and labour costs were the key reasons associated with the problem. Boreholes, springs and wadis (streams) are the main water sources used for goats in the mountain zone during dry season, whereas boreholes are the only water source used during dry season in the semi-desert zone. Goat keepers perceived Mountain Black and Dhaiwi goats to have higher water tolerance compared to Damascus goats and their crosses. Though no direct negative impact of water availability on goat performance was found, the production cost, and thus, the profitability of goat production is impaired.
Keywords: Dry season, goats, Jordan, water scarcity, water sources
Contact Address: Ja'far Al-Khaza'leh, University of Hohenheim, Inst. of Animal Production in the Tropics and Subtropics, Garbenstrasse 17, 70599 Stuttgart, Germany, e-mail: jkhazaleh1981yahoo.com