Data on characterization of animal genetic resources are valuable in the development of breeding and conservation schemes to ensure their sustainable use. A survey was conducted to collect baseline data on the phenotypic characteristics, production system, traits of economic importance and challenges faced by goat farmers in Liberia. The survey was carried out in the 15 counties of Liberia and covered 1314 animals in their production environments. 1267 respondents participated in this study. A pre-tested structured questionnaire, group discussions and in-depth interviews were used in the data collection. Phenotypic descriptors were directly measured using a measuring tape and weighing scale. Results indicated that Liberia goats are predominantly West Africa dwarf (WAD) breed (99%) and either docile or moderate in temperament. Majority of WAD goats have solid/uniform/plain coat colour pattern (68%) and black or white coat colour (63%). Most goats are horned (70%) and have curved horns (50%). The main motivation for keeping local goats is their relative adaptation to the environment, fast growth and efficient meat production. Average body weight, body length, chest girth and height at withers were 39 kg, 65, 79 and 51 cm, respectively. Government should address the issue of feed, access to veterinary care and medicines, disease control and also assist goat farmers to put up housing and fencing for their animals. There is a need for the government to improve policies on AnGR management in Liberia. In particular, the recently adopted NSAP on AnGR which provides a clear framework for the development of the livestock sector should be validated and implemented by the MOA/CARI and other stakeholders. In situ and ex situ conservation strategies including establishment of national breeding and conservation centres and community-based breeding programs for goat farmers are viable options which should be pursued.
Key words: Liberia, phenotypic characterization, West African dwarf goat, production system, AnGR.
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