Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

Tanzania: Ngorongoro Ranch Fails to Take Off

NATURAL Resources and Tourism Minister, Ambasador Khamis Kagasheki has warned that a number of officials at Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) are likely to lose their jobs after failing to execute President Jakaya Kikwete's ranch idea.

Minister Kagasheki, who made his first visit into NCAA, wanted to know why the proposed livestock ranch project which President Jakaya Kikwete had wanted the authority to establish had failed to take off. The project was mooted in order to save the Maasai livestock through modern ways of animal husbandry.

"The president called for the establishment of the ranch back in 2009 but four years later the management of NCAA is still toying with the idea. "As a result the Maasai community in Ngorongoro Division is facing acute shortage of food after many of their livestock breeds got decimated by drought," said the Minister. He added that the ranch would have helped save the situation.

A team of experts had been sent to start work on the proposed 3,000-hectare ranch which was to be set up at Kakesio in April 7, last year. Mr Bruno Kawasange, the Acting Conservator with NCAA, said that the ranch failed to take off due to various stumbling blocks including the intervention of the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA).

The authority, he said, had expressed dissatisfaction of the whole process especially the conduct of 'experts' hired to work on the project and some of whom operated from France. The over 5bn/- proposed ranch was supposed to go into operation in July 2011 starting with 1,000 head of cattle and the establishment would later expand to accommodate over 70,000 livestock.

Maasai residents in Ngorongoro District were to take their animals to the ranch where they would be taken care of properly in terms of feeding, medication and artificial insemination for improved breeding. At the end of the day, money generated from the animals will benefit the locals. Currently, the Maasai earn 600,000/- per cow, after six years of attending to one animal.

But under the new ranch arrangement the same animal could fetch the owner 1.2m/- within the same period and the owner would not even be subjected to take care for it, but would simply collect money after a certain period of time.

According to its blue-print, the ranch was also to serve as a Tse-tse fly control centre, Artificial Insemination Centre, a sort of Cattle Cooperative Society, a Biogas generating plant, as well as a training facility on effective cattle keeping practice.

The ranch would also serve as a cattle market from which people from all over the country would be buying animals. Under the same project a meat processing factory and a modern dairy firm would be established in Karatu Township to add value to both meat and milk products from the ranch as well as provide employment to hundreds of locals in Ngorongoro and Karatu.

Ngorongoro District is home to nearly 140,000 head of cattle but all of them have not been beneficial to their owners -- a situation that irked President Kikwete who in 2009 stepped in and ordered the NCAA to transform Maasai lives immediately.

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