Reduce animal feed prices, Ulega tells producers

INVESTMENT attraction, adoption of emerging technologies, innovation and participation of the private sector are among the key factors that can reduce the cost of price of animal feeds and foster competitiveness in the country.

Speaking to participants during a one-day workshop organised by the Dutch Embassy in collaboration with Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) in Dar es Salaam over the weekend, Minister for Livestock and Fisheries Abdallah Ulega said it was important to attract investments in the production of animal feeds and encourage competition.

He explained that the cost of production of animal feeds was hiking the price of fish, chickens and other types of livestock compared to neighbouring countries such as Kenya.

“All stakeholders are meeting here today to discuss and come up with suggestions on the best way to reduce the cost of price of animal feeds by increasing creativity, investments and adopting emerging technologies so that we can address climate change, prolonged droughts and finances and other challenges,” he said.

He called on financial institutions, especially bankers in the country, to start issuing loans to producers of animal feeds and make their business sustainable.

“Let me take this occasion to direct the Tanzania Veterinary Laboratory Agency (TVLA) to start making follow-ups to producers of animal feeds who have factories and inspect them if they sell high quality animal feeds,” said Minister Ulega.

He emphasised that it was important for the TVLA to start a programme of visiting producers of animal feeds to identify those who were registered with their companies as producers of animal feeds in the country, guide and help them produce feeds that met international standards.

“You are all aware that the cost of production of animal feeds in this country is high. For instance, the price of tilapia has doubled compared to neighbouring Kenya and this is due to the cost of price of animal feeds,” he said after opening the workshop and answering to journalists’ questions.

He said currently Tanzania had at least 223 registered feed mills, with only 15-20 of them operating at professional and commercial levels.

For his part, Netherlands Ambassador to Tanzania Wiebe de Boer said the one-day workshop brought together policy-makers, researchers, the government, livestock and fisheries stakeholders and the producers of animal feeds to sit together and develop a road map on achieving competitiveness in the production of animal feeds.

“This workshop has come at the right time when the cost of production of animal feeds is increasing day by day, which poses a threat to all actors.

It is high time all stakeholders came up with alternative sources of protein to reduce the cost of production of animal feeds,” said Ambassador de Boer.

“Apart from reflecting this workshop will pave the way for all actors to stimulate resilience for the feed sector in the near future that will create immense opportunity,” he added.

Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) Chief Executive Officer Geoffrey Kirenga said the animal feed industry in the country held a central position in agriculture and in the economy of the country.

“It is the intersection of both crop production and livestock rearing systems, which collectively provide livelihoods, income and employment for over 80 per cent of the population,” he said.

Presenting a paper on the findings and recommendations of a study on alternative sources of proteins, Prof Faustine Lekule said one of the alternative sources of proteins was to encourage farmers to grow soybean because it was beneficial for animal and human consumption in this country.

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