TANZANIA – Tanzania is in need of 9 billion more litres of milk to reach self-sufficiency despite the country’s dairy sector showing signs of production growth that stood at 3.6 billion in the 2022/23 fiscal year, a 5% increment from 3.4 billion litres in the fiscal year 2021/22.

According to Minister for Fisheries and Livestock, Mr Abdallah Ulega, Tanzania has been experiencing a large gap in the milk sector despite the increasing population of milk-producing livestock.

He noted that the number of cattle has increased from 35.3 million to 36.6 million in the 2022/23 financial year, while that of goats has increased from 25.6 million to 26.6 million.

“Milk production could significantly improve if Tanzania shifted focus to improved breeds, currently there are slightly more than 1.26 million crossbreeds that contribute only 30 per cent of the milk output,” Ulega noted.

He added that these and other achievements indicated positive growth in the dairy industry, now considered to be a 5% per cent increment.

The minister also indicated in a report that cattle are the main milk producers, sharing over 90 per cent of the total milk.

However, despite the observed growth Tanzania has reported a deficit of 9 billion litres of milk in order to reach the 12 billion litre requirements to become self-sufficient.

“Because of the deficit, Tanzania had to import milk from outside the country; by April 30, 2023, a total of 11.6 million litres had been imported, worth Sh22.766 billion,” Mr Ulega said.

Tanzania relied on imports from Uganda, South Africa, England, Ireland, Kenya, Oman, Dubai, Denmark, the Netherlands, France, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Burundi, he noted.

On the other hand, Tanzania Dairy Board added that the 12 billion litres will enable the country to meet its target of 200 litres per person per capita and at least 100 litres per child per capita contrary to the current of 64 litres per person per capita.

During an interview, Mr Masalya, the Registrar of the Tanzania Dairy Board (TDB) noted that milk self-sufficiency can be reached within a short period.

“This can only be met through increased resource mobilisation and investment aimed at increasing the number of dairy cows and transforming livestock-keeping activities.”

Furthermore, he outlined reasons leading to persistent milk importation as low domestic milk productivity, poor collection and storage systems, and low prices offered to farmers.

According to a report from the Tanzanian Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, the marketing and processing of milk has been boosted by the establishment of milk collection centres at the major production zones.

Last year, over 64 million litres of the total output of 3.4 billion litres of liquid food was collected in the 242 collection centres.

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