DETERMINED to improve meat production in the country, Tanzania Livestock Research Institute (TALIRI) has embarked on special programme to improve the stock of Boran cattle, a popular Zebu beef breed.
TALIRI Director General, Dr Eligy Shirima, told the 'Daily News' here yesterday that the programme involves strategic crossbreeding with the aim of uplifting the level of beef production in the country.
"The programme will also help to address a number of challenges facing beef production in the country," said Dr Shirima.
He pointed out the challenges faced as low genetic potential of existing stock, inadequate infrastructure, prevalence of animal diseases, inadequate pastureland, weak livestock farmer's organisations and inadequate technical support services.
He said several studies have been conducted by high profile experts from Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) between 2010 and 2016 on cattle, goats and sheep feedlotting in the country.
Dr Shirima noted that several studies conducted by experts from Morogoro-based SUA showed that energy was the main constraint to mutton production.
"Molasses is the cheapest source of energy...almost 10 times that of maize bran and is relatively cheaper in terms of availability, price and palatability as compared to the other energy source diets," he observed.
However, Dr Shirima said, in order to have a bouncing and mushrooming livestock industry capable of contributing more to the household and national economies, TALIRI in partnership with key other research institutions have so far strategised and implemented several interventions.
Dr Shirima underscored the need for review of taxes, tariffs and national policies to create conducive environment for investment and beef production as well as agro-processing industries.
He argued that investment in feed resource development through paddocking and irrigation was vital for improvement of beef production. He added that it was high time for more investments in value addition of meat, hides and skins and other products.
"Strategic investment in capacity building at all value chain levels from producers, traders, processors and extension service providers is vital to improve beef production," he said.
TALIRI's Principal Research Scientists Dr Daniel Komwihangilo said the programme will increase incomes to pastoralists, adding that the institute was currently carrying out reforms for the livestock sector