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Adding value to local breeds with particular reference to sheep and goats

Papachristoforou, C., Koumas, A., Hadjipavlou, G.
Animal genetic resources 2013 v.53 pp. 157-162
breeding, farmers, goats, landscape management, marketing strategies, markets, meat, recreation, sheep, sheep breeds, silvopastoral systems, tourism, wool
About 82 percent of the total known sheep breeds are local breeds, and for goats, the respective figure is 86 percent. From the scientific perspective, as local breeds are unique genetic resources, they are valuable. However, the relative value assigned to local breeds differs between interest groups. Using several strategies to improve the relative value of local breeds will strengthen the prospects of their sustainable use. In this context, marketing is perhaps the most powerful tool. Marketing strategies include identification and promotion of traditional meat, milk and wool products from sheep and goats linked to local breeds, highlighting the quality and culture associated with these products and facilitating access of farmers to commercial markets. Other important strategies relate to: promotion of local breeds as the best suited for use in landscape management, silvopastoral systems and organic farming; exploitation of unique characteristics of local breeds in agritourism (food, non-food products, souvenirs and recreation) and for educational purposes; sustainable use of local breeds in breeding schemes; educating people about the value and importance of local breeds; introduction of legislative measures; finally, research can serve as a very powerful tool to add value to local breeds by creating new knowledge and providing scientific evidence on particular biological characteristics.