A Call to Action
In this communiqué, the undersigned Non-State Actors (civil society,pastoralist, research, private, farmers’ unions and other stakeholders) champion a call to action and outline recommendations on livestock policy advocacy strategies that take into consideration the unique conditions and opportunities of the livestock sector development in Tanzania.
The livestock sector is an engine of economic growth in Tanzania where 50 percent of households in the country rely on some form of livestock for part, or all of their income.1
Tanzania has the third largest livestock population on the African continent after Ethiopia and Sudan and while a variety of livestock products - including livestock, meat, poultry, eggs and leather goods - are produced in Tanzania, the country continues to depend on imports to meet the growing demand.
Today, more than ever, the livestock sector warrants close consideration and attention if the country is to fully realize its potential as a driver for inclusive transformational growth. The livestock sector is seen to contribute to the Tanzania Development Vision (TDV) 2025 and a recent analysis found that the sector has contributed between 7.4% to 10% of the national GDP,2 although the sector’s development budget remains small, shrinking in recent years to 10.6 billion Tsh in 2016/17.3 Livestock is a sector that is growing and transforming rapidly and the demand for animal products and bi-products is rising, driven by higher disposable incomes of the growing middle class and increasing rates of urbanization. Its potential contribution to achieving many of the national development goals represents a unique opportunity for far-reaching transformation.
Livestock production in Tanzania, like crop production, is predominantlyby smallholder keepers and pastoralists, many of whom are women, who have limited access to inputs, services and markets. Livestock are often used as collateral for millions of families with no access to formal financial services and for women farmers who do not own land.
Common practices for smallholder keepers in the country are basic, with only 20% reporting accessing extension services, and few farmers owning more productive breeds.4 Many keepers struggle with preventable diseases due to the lack of availability of proper veterinary care, with only 50% of keepers reporting access to animal health services.5In addition, there are a variety of direct and indirect policies that affect the performance of the agriculture sector at large, and the livestock sector specifically, including issues related to agricultural taxation, agro-industry, rural roads and energy, importation of agro-produce and packaging materials.6The resulting low productivity is at odds with both the country’s increasing demand for animal-source foods and products, and the fact that livestock significantly contributes to rural poor families’ incomes and livelihoods.
The livestock sector in Tanzania has the potential to boost economic growth but there is need to increase public financing, as well as create an enabling environment supportive of smallholder keepers and pastoralists to realize this. ClicK here for downloading the full communique.