AgResults eyes improved dairy productivity

TO raise livestock keepers’ morale and dairy productivity in the country, the AgResults Tanzania Dairy Productivity Challenge Project will encourage the private sector to visit and work directly with the grassroots smallholder farmers.

AgResults Project Lead Neema Mrema said recently in Dar es Salaam that, the plan will be achieved by providing prizes for each bundle of high-quality inputs delivered to increase animal productivity, boost smallholder farmers’ incomes, and strengthen value chain relationships between dairy producers and the formal dairy sector.

She added: “AgResults is a multilateral initiative that uses Pay-for-Results prize competitions to incentivise, or “pull”, the private sector to overcome agricultural market barriers by investing in innovative research and delivery solutions that improve the lives of smallholder farmers.”

The project lead noted that, working with LAND O’Lake Venture, a local organisation in the agribusiness value chain, some 521m/- ($223,000) has been allocated as incentives to smallholder farmers engaging in the fodder production.

Through the 2023/24 Fodder Incentive Verification for Tanzania Dairy Productivity Project, it is intended that milk production will increase through reliable fodder supply for cows, particularly in the regions of Coast, Morogoro and Tanga, where currently it is in operation.

Currently, data from the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries shows that the country produces an average of 3.4 billion litres of milk per year.

The one-year project targets the production of an additional 23 million litres as of February next year.

The project targets at producing 5,000 tonnes of fodder that will be used to feed at least 10,000 cows from the three regions of the project.

However, 9million US dollars (21.03bn/-) from the fodder business in the next twelve months.

The project is part of the AgResults Tanzania Dairy Productivity Challenge Project 2019/24 which targets attracting development of the livestock value chain through professional advisory service delivery in the areas of parasite control, artificial insemination, vaccines and nutrition.

She said applications for smallholder fodder producers who are interested are open until February 3, 2023 to get eligible farmers who will undergo special training.

Mrema said for a farmer to qualify he/she must own a land of between five to 20 acres who also hires a veterinary specialist for professional advice.

“A fodder producer must have an ability to produce a minimum of 100 tonnes (100,000kilos) of fodder to benefit with the incentive. A farmer who meets this quantity will receive $21 (49,071/-) in every 470 kilos of fodder sold.

According to her, a cow must feed on fodder that weighs at least three per cent of its weight for it to produce enough milk of the required quality for human health. The project will be verified by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC Tanzania).

PwC Associate Director Delvina Libent said that a competitive trucking system will be used during the selling of the fodder that also allows registration and keeping records of the fodder suppliers.

“This is a golden opportunity for smallholder farmers engaged in fodder production to grab on and expand their production capacity with the offered incentive,” said Libent.

Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Assistant Director Grazing Land, Gabriel Bura said that the country has 50 million hectares for grazing of which only nine million hectares are used.

According to him, Tanzania has a total of 69.69 million domestic animals including cattle, sheep, goats and donkeys.

“The country needs to produce 139 million tonnes of fodder to feed all these farm animals. Currently, only 7.97 million tonnes of fodder is produced. The government is targeting expansion of the Vikuge farm in increasing production of animal feeds including fodder,” said Bura.

Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank (TADB) Research and Advisory Manager Mkani Waziri called upon farmers to secure loans from the bank at affordable interest rates and purchase machinery and other inputs to enable them produce the fodders smoothly.

“Fodder production is an opportunity that farmers should not hesitate to take advantage of.

Demand for animal feed is growing at a faster pace in relation to production capacity,” he said.

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