12 January 2013

Tanzania: Proposed Ngorongoro Ranch Fails to Take Off

Natural resources and Tourism Minister Ambasador Khamis Kagasheki has warned that a number of officials at the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority should be prepared for job termination after failing to execute President Kikwete's ranch initiative.

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, in order to save the Maasai livestock through modern ways of animal husbandry, has failed to take off.

"The president called for the establishment of the ranch in 2009 but four years later the management of NCAA is still dilly-dallying with the idea and as a result the Maasai community in Ngorongoro Division is facing acute shortage of food after many of their livestock breeds got smitten with drought," said the Minister adding that the ranch would have helped rescue the situation.

A team of experts had been sent to start work on the proposed 3000 acre ranch which was to be set up in Kakesio are, from April 7, last year.

Mr Bruno Kawasange the Acting Conservator with NCAA admitted that the ranch failed to take off due to various stumbling blocks including the intervention of the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) which expressed dissatisfaction of the whole process especially the conduct of 'experts' hired to work on the project and who operated from France.

President Jakaya Kikwete proposed a livestock ranch in Ngorongoro.

The over 5 billion/- proposed ranch was supposed to go into operation in July 2011 starting with 1000 cattle and the establishment will later expand to accommodate over 70,000 livestock.

Maasai residents in Ngorongoro District were to take their animals to the ranch where they will be taken care of properly in terms of proper feeding, veterinary services, artificial insemination for improved breeding and at the end of the day, money generated from the animals will benefit the locals.

The Maasai earn about Tsh 600,000 per cow, after six years of tending to the animal, but under the new ranch arrangement the same animal could fetch the owner 1.2 million/- within the same period and the owner won't even be subjected to care for it, but simply collect their money after a certain period of time.

According to its blue-print, the ranch was also to serve as a Tse-tse fly control center, Artificial Insemination Center, a type of Cattle Cooperative Society, a Biogas generating plant, as well as training facility on effective cattle keeping practice. The ranch will also serve as cattle market from which people from all over the country will be ordering animals.

Under the same project also, a meat processing factory and a modern dairy firm will be built in Karatu Township to add valued to both meat and milk products from the ranch as well as provide employment to hundreds other locals in Ngorongoro and Karatu areas.

Ngorongoro District is home to nearly 140,000 cattle but all of these have not been beneficial to their owners something which irked President Kikwete who in 2009 stepped in and ordered the NCAA to transform the Maasai lives promptly.

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