Tanzania plans livestock mass vaccination

DAR ES SALAAM: TANZANIA intends to undertake a nationwide livestock mass vaccination campaign to increase the livestock export market and farmers’ revenues.

Livestock and Fisheries Minister Abdallah Ulega disclosed this on Wednesday at the State House in Dar es Salaam during a news conference on President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s trips to Morocco and Saudi Arabia, held between November 8 and 11 this year.

Mr Ulega stated that one of the challenges facing Tanzanian livestock in meeting export requirements was pests and diseases, and the campaign was one of the measures employed by the government to shift the narrative.

“At present, they vaccinate, but everyone does it according to their schedule. We want every livestock keeper to vaccinate, and we will develop a specific vaccination schedule for each livestock disease,” he stated.

He asserted that the campaign would contribute to increasing confidence in Tanzania’s meat standards and quality among the nations with whom Tanzania conducts international business.

In order to continue fostering confidence among overseas purchasers, the government has also set aside disease-free compartment zones.

Mr Ulega said that during their visit to Saudi Arabia, they had meetings with the Almarai company, which is ready to come to Tanzania and start a project to produce livestock fodder. The company has already started negotiations with the Ministry of Livestock to initiate the project.

Other companies that showed interest include the Salic Company and the Crown Agricultural Company, both of which aim to start projects for the cultivation of livestock feed (alfalfa) and a project to fatten cows for sale in the Middle East market.

“Those companies have also requested to start cooperative associations of farmers who will cultivate alfalfa livestock feed, and they will establish joint collection centres for the companies,” said Mr Ulega.

He stated that Tanzania has the largest livestock population, but the problem is that when someone wants to buy, it is difficult to find since the herders are dispersed.

“So, what we are doing is streamlining the process so that those who need to buy do not have trouble,” he said.

According to the minister, the deal they have with these firms is to perform contract farming. The farmers will be given seeds, and after harvesting, there will be collection centres.

“In 2021, we sold 1,700 tonnes of meat abroad, but until now, we have sold more than 14,000 tonnes. This is due to the results of the visits that President Samia has made to increase business and attract investors,” he told reporters.

According to the minister, Saudi Arabia, which did not buy meat from Tanzania until June of this year, has already purchased 1,400 tonnes, and their need is 20,000 tonnes in one month, so the opportunity is still quite large.

“The Saudis are ready to cooperate with Tanzania, and the first step is to ensure that we have out growers to be able to reach the Saudi market effectively,” stated Mr Ulega.

As a government, he said they have been implementing various methods to increase the production of cows that meet the criteria of the foreign market, including artificial insemination.

In September of this year, when speaking at the Africa Food System Forum 2023 in Dar es Salaam, Minister Ulega outlined some of the interventions and opportunities focused on boosting commercial livestock production to increase the supply of raw materials for processing industries.

These interventions include the implementation of the Livestock Sector Transformation Plan (LSTP), which includes improving animal breeds through artificial insemination and the use of improved breeding bulls, strengthening pasture and water development by establishing commercial farms for pasture and pasture seed production.

He mentioned other initiatives such as strengthening animal health systems through vaccination campaigns and control of ticks and tick-borne diseases, enhancing extension services by equipping extension officers with extension kits and transportation, research, and training.

The list of initiatives also includes the value addition of livestock products, creating an enabling environment for business and investment, and mainstreaming employment opportunities through the engagement of youth and women under the auspices of Building a Better Tomorrow through Livestock and Fisheries Entrepreneurs (BBT-LIFE).

“We have recruited 240 youth in the BBT-LIFE programme, whereby the beneficiaries have been acquainted with the necessary innovative mind transformation, entrepreneurship skills, and business-oriented perspectives. They are expected to significantly contribute to increased production, value addition, and employment inclusion,” he stated.

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