Growth in the dairy industry has been ranked by ASARECA and IFPRI as the most important agricultural sub-sector in the East and Central Africa region in terms of potential GDP gains. And there is large milk productivity gaps in each production system and genotype going by minimum and maximum production levels reported in the literature. The potential for growth in the dairy sector in Tanzania may take similar trends with neighbouring Kenya where, with similar conditions, growth has been much faster and total production is now than six times Tanzania’s production.
The major difference lies in a longer history of public investment in improved genotypes and private sector led growth that has characterised dairying in Kenya. The rapid rise in demand and a liberalised economy now provide Tanzania with similar impetus for growth.
The dominance of small-scale production and marketing system in Tanzania is not only typical of dairy systems in East Africa but many parts of the developing world as well. However, dominant product types vary from mainly liquid milk in East Africa, to butter in Ethiopia, soft cheese in West Africa and milk sweets in India. The main constraints of limited feed availability and poor quality cut across dairy systems in all these regions. Lessons from dairy research and development in Tanzania can therefore be widely applicable.
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