A worker tending to the Boer goats at the breeding centre in Kampung Kabang in Papar, Sabah.
Boer goats are scoring high marks as income-earners among two groups of farmers here due to their fast growth and nutritional value.
General manager Datu Basrun Datu Mansor said the project, which started in early 2006, had shown positive results and the goats had shown that they could acclimatise to local weather.
"There is demand for Boer goats. There are even people from Brunei who want to purchase up to 300 goats a month, but we are unable to sell to them. Our main purpose is to continue breeding Boer goats so that we can supply them to local livestock farmers.
"We have managed to acclimatise the goats to local conditions and there is less risk for farmers who buy the ones we breed, compared with directly importing the species from overseas," he said at the Papar facility, about 50km south of Kota Kinabalu.
Datu Basrun said the corporation was filling a gap in the import of goat meat from Australia, an effort which will also help livestock breeders explore opportunities to produce high-value meat for the local market.
He said that based on an American study, goat meat is the lowest in terms of cholesterol and saturated fats, compared to lamb and other types of meat, including beef and pork.
"We need to create awareness that goat meat has better nutritional value compared with some other meats, but we are unable to promote this aggressively now as we are still in the process of breeding goats."
He said that apart from breeding Boer goats, the corporation is planting high quality grass as feed and is conducting training for those interested in goat farming.
Boer goats, which have white bodies and distinctive brown heads, are among the most popular breeds in the world.
Corporation project manager for livestock Dr Mohd Shahrom Salisi, said Boer goats had an average gestation period of five months (150 days) and could breed three months after weaning off the kids from milk.
Boer goats weigh in at an average of 3kg at birth, but their weight increases quickly and they reach breeding age at eight to 10 months. A mature Boer buck weighs between 110kg and 135kg and a mature doe at between 90kg and 100kg.
Dr Mohd Shahrom said a kid which weighed 5.2kg at birth almost doubled in weight to 9kg after a week.
"We calculate the daily weight gain at the facilities that we run. Usually weight increases at between 100gm and 200gm a day. Those below the average weight are culled as we have to follow a system when it comes to breeding Boer goats."
He said genetic upgrading of Boer goats was another objective that the corporation had set in its quest to become a centre for research and development in the state.
Sabah Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Datuk Yahya Hussin, who visited the Papar facility on Tuesday, said he was keen to see the corporation pursuing the project as it would benefit the livestock sector and help meet sufficiency in meat production.