The South African Milch Goat Breeders’ Society (SAMGBS) is a large organisation focused on promoting the quality breeding of milk goats in the country. The society aims to disseminate information about the history of milk goat breeds, as well as breeding standards and quality farming methods. They also advocate for the health benefits of goat milk.
Milk goat breeding was first discovered in South Africa during a Dutch expedition to the Namaqualand area in 1661. There, the new settlers found a tribe called Briqua, known as ‘the goat people’, who farmed with a small herd of milch goats and other meat goat breeds. Since then, milk goat breeding expanded at a rapid pace, as it was found that goats are hardy animals that thrive in almost all environments and climates.
The first milk goat breeds were imported from Switzerland in 1898, and included 12 Saanen does and 3 Saanen bucks. The SA Milch Goat Breeders’ Society was first founded in 1926 with British Goat Society affliction, and reassessed in 1958 to affiliate with the SA Studbook and Animal Improvement Society. It has since then continued to represent the interests of milk goat breeders and farmers countrywide.
The most popular milk goat breeds that are currently farmed in South Africa include the Saanen, Toggenburg, British Alpine and Bunte Deutsche Edelziege.