Despite having 22 million cattle and having the second largest cattle population in Africa, most of the milk in Tanzania is sold and consumed with limited or no value addition because of high production, processing costs and poor infrastructure.
The most outstanding characterization of the dairy sector in the country is that most milk is sold in informal markets which are highly fragmented. Currently, there are about 70 privately owned milk processing units utilizing only about 30% of their processing capacity with less than a thousand litres a day on average.
In 2014, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) carried out a ‘Review of successes and failures of dairy value chain development interventions in Tanzania’, to identify the best interventions and strategies to pilot that are pro-poor, gender-sensitive and environmentally sustainable.
Dairy stakeholders including experts, policy makers, researchers, farmers and processors were interviewed to determine the successes or failures of past dairy development in terms of inclusiveness, timeframe of innovative interventions and other measures aimed at poverty reduction.
Overall, the review concludes that dairy interventions in the country so far have been successful but there is still a long way to go in ensuring competitiveness and inclusiveness.
Areas that require attention include creation of a supportive regulatory framework for business to thrive, research on feeds especially to overcome scarcity in dry seasons and establishing a suitable model for improving access to inputs and services especially for breeding and health and credit services. Building farmer groups to work together to exploit economies of scale and learn from each other will help cut production costs and enable them to access services.
The review also called for interventions that can be used to grow the dairy sector which includes formulation of a dairy development master plan with a long term vision to guide the sector.
The review was carried out as part of the ‘More Milk in Tanzania’ project funded by Irish Aid and delivered in close collaboration with Sokoine University of Agriculture, Heifer International, Faida Mali and the Tanzania Dairy Board.