Arusha — The government has set aside 10,000 hectares in Kongwa District, Dodoma Region, for interested investors to grow cattle fodder. The decision is among a raft of measures taken to increase milk production and boost the dairy industry.
"The fodder produced would be sold to the dairy farmers to boost the production of quality milk," Dr Sophia Mlote, Registrar of the Tanzania Diary Board (TDB), said recently during the opening of the first ever milk dispensing machine dubbed Milk ATM in Moshi .
The site has been readied for interested investors who would produce the recommended cattle fodder targeting the commercial dairy farmers and small scale milk producers.
The technology (Milk ATM) has been introduced under the dairy sector development project in Kilimanjaro Region. The project is supported by two UK-based organizations.
These are the 1.8m Pound Sterling 'Income and Employment of Women and Youth to the Dairy Sector' project funded by Comic Relief organization.
The four and a half year project started in 2016. Another is 'Transforming Agricultural Markets' (TAM) in Siha and Hai districts, a two-year project launched last year with an $800,000 pound sterling funding from DfID.
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Dr Mlote could not explain the current status of earmarked investments but was explicit that the scarcity of fodder and livestock feeds was a challenge to milk production in the country.
According to Match Maker Associates, an Arusha-based business consultancy, the country's demand for fodder (total dry matter) is 78 million tonnes a year. Current commercial production is about 18.2 million tonnes a year, 60 per cent of which is produced by the government institutions (mainly state farms) and 40 per cent by the private farms.
"This means the demand for fodder is huge.
The production is insufficient," Mkani Waziri, a consultant and country project manager told The Citizen.
Statistics from the Tanzania Milk Processors Association (Tampa) indicate that 70 per cent of costs incurred by dairy farmers has to do with feeds and fodder.
What is consumed by a dairy cow ordinarily is fodder, accounting for 70 per cent of the food intake while the remaining 30 per cent is silage and other concentrates.
Mr Waziri added that although a legislation on livestock feeds is well articulated in the Grazing Land and Animal Feed Act, 2010, it is beset with drawbacks.