MILK production in the country is set to increase in the near future following measures being taken to promote supply of high-quality inputs and artificial insemination to smallholder dairy farmers.
The AgResults Tanzania Dairy Productivity Challenge Project in collaboration with the government is currently implementing a four-year project in Dar es Salaam, Tanga, Coast Region and Morogoro to encourage proper feed of animals and improved dairy cow breeds in order to increase milk production.
AgResults Project Team Leader, Ms Neema Mrema told journalists in Dar es Salaam yesterday during induction training to competitors that artificial insemination is the only way of quick breed improvement if done appropriately.
She said that most cows in Tanzania are traditional breeds which do not produce sufficient milk as required.
According to her, traditional cows produce between two to four litres per day, while improved dairy cows produce between five and ten litres per day, although they are supposed to produce more milk.
“We expect that through this project, small holder dairy farmers will be trained on proper ways of taking care of their livestock by ensuring that they are properly fed, based on the kind of breed in order to increase milk production,” she said.
She said that her project encourages artificial insemination in order to get breeds which can produce more milk, noting that upon completion of the project, milk production is expected to increase by between 10 and 15 percent in the areas where the project is being implemented.
She explained that in animal genetics, when you want to have a better breed you have to promote artificial insemination which produce different breeds, but the purpose of the project is to look for better breeds for milk yields.
Ms Mrema noted that last year her organization in collaboration with the Ministry of Livestock imported semen straws from the US, whose breeds can produce between 30 and 40 litres of milk per day.
“The straws were targeted to 1000 cows in Dar es Salaam, and so far 400 semen straws have already been sold.
We anticipate that come next year, we are going to see improved genetic breeds in Dar es Salaam, but also we are trying to lobby so that more semen straws are imported for other regions,” Ms Mrema said.
She noted that they have seen a success rate in artificial insemination, adding that plans were under way to work with national artificial insemination centre to ensure farmers get better breeds based on geographical and climatic condition of the area.
Principal Veterinary Officer Department of Veterinary Services East Zone Dr Asenga Severine said that the government works to ensure that small holder dairy farmers have access to quality inputs, including animal feeds, vaccines, veterinary drugs and artificial insemination.
Livestock sector has been growing at 5 per cent annually and contribute 7.4 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to the 2019/2020 budget report.
Milk production increased by 12.1 per cent, which means that in 2018/2019 milk production was 2.7 billion litres, while in 2019/2020 it increased to 3 billion litres.
Of the 3 billion litres, 2.1 billion litres were produced by traditional cows while 0.9 were from improved dairy cattle.