RC urges youth to grab opportunities in livestock keeping

KAGERA: KAGERA Regional Commissioner Ms Fatma Mwassa has urged youth in the region to embrace livestock keeping as one of strategies to boost income and alleviate poverty.

“The government has created a conducive environment for the youth to engage in dairy keeping. An investor has already established a milk processing factory in Karagwe District.

Thus, there is a reliable market for the milk product,” she said.

Addressing the Regional Consultative Committee (RCC) meeting held in Bukoba Municipal on Wednesday, Ms Mwassa unveiled that a delegation of dairy farmers including chairpersons in the eight councils in Kagera Region is expected to make a study tour in neighbouring Uganda to learn modern dairy management.

“A delegation of dairy farmers including Chairpersons in the eight councils from Kagera Region is expected to make a study tour in neighbouring Uganda to learn modern dairy management. Reports indicate that the neighbouring country has made tremendous progress on dairy management and we expect that the study tour will bring positive results,” she said.

Ms Mwassa said youth unemployment was a critical challenge adding that dairy farming had the potential for job creation.

Equally, she challenged livestock keepers to embrace zero grazing of livestock noting that this mode is crucial as it focuses more on quality as opposed to quantity.

“Livestock keepers should avoid having big herds of unproductive cattle. Instead, they should adopt modern dairy keeping which is more productive and economically viable,” she said.

Adding, “While Tanzania has a competitive advantage of a large livestock sector, opportunities within the dairy sector are still underutilised. Kagera Region has a conducive climate and abundant fertile soils suitable for large investments in the dairy industry.

The government has prioritised the dairy sector as a driver of industrialisation, food and nutrition security and income. Dairy is a key sector in Tanzania, contributing 30 per cent of domestic production in the livestock sector and about 1.2 per cent of national Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” Ms Mwassa said.

The Region’s Assistant Regional Administrative Secretary (Economy and Productivity), Mr Isaya Tendega said the region has set aside about 66,215.7 hectares for dairy industry development under Mwisa 1 Project, thus inviting local and foreign investors to capitalise on the opportunity by establishing milk and beef factories.

“The eight councils had set aside 255,741.2 hectares for pasture areas while 179,067 hectares (70 per cent) is under the National Ranching Company (NARCO). Local and foreign investors should tap the economic benefits by establishing beef, milk and hides factories. Kagera Region is suitable for large investments based on its geographical location, “he said.

Kagera Region comprised five Ranches under NARCO, namely Kitengule (41,700 hectares), Missenyi (60,851 hectares), Mabale (14,026 hectares), Kagoma (50,690 hectares) and Kikulula (12,700 hectares).

The Ranches had been leased to 87 block owners out of whom 47 possess longterm contracts while 40 others had short-term contracts with a total of 49,212 cows, 4,207 goats and 928 sheep.

According to Mr Tendega, the region had a total of 714,779 indigenous cows, 638,102 goats, 66,054 sheep, 71,261 pigs and 1,048,122 chickens.

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