THE government has called on stakeholders in the dairy sector to come up with innovative approaches that will increase milk production, productivity and quality to spur the country's industrialization drive.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, Prof Elisante Ole Gabriel, made the call in Dar es Salaam on Thursday at the official launch of AgResults Tanzania Dairy Productivity Challenge Project- a four-year, US$2.2 million prize competition that aims to increase dairy productivity by encouraging private sector actors to deliver inputs to smallholder farmers.
The event, which brought together stakeholders from across the public and private sectors, was an opportunity to reflect on the project's potential to transform Tanzania's dairy sector.
The project will begin in January 2020 and continue through April 2024.
"I feel greatly honored to grace the launch of this Payfor- Results prize competition, which is the first of its kind in Tanzania," said Prof Ole Gabriel.
"The innovative AgResults Pay-for-Results prize competition addresses Tanzania farmers' limited access to high-quality inputs and the ministry is committed to supporting it to ensure its success," he added.
He, however, described private-sector participation as essential to ensure the scaling up and commercialization of different dairy technologies and the long term sustainability of project interventions.
The PS also said: "As the government, we're determined to ensure that smallscale dairy farmers receive quality inputs from private sellers as well as making sure that the fight against counterfeit inputs is sustained."
Managed by Land O'Lakes Venture37, the project will use a competition structure to encourage companies to provide farmers with input bundles that will boost productivity and strengthen the dairy value chain.
The project is designed to incentivize private sector competitors to package and deliver input bundles comprising a combination of parasite controls, high quality feed and/or fodder, vaccines, and/or artificial insemination inputs to smallholder dairy farmers.
By encouraging businesses to provide both input bundles and advisory services, the project will address a variety of gaps in Tanzania's dairy value chain.
As farmers gain access to quality inputs and receive regular training, their knowledge of livestock management will improve as well as use of vaccines and health inputs, in turn boosting the nutrition of cows.
Healthier and more productive cows will improve the quality of the milk, positioning smallholder farmers to participate more fully in formal markets.
Accessing these markets will drive up smallholder farmers' incomes and cement their relationships with key value chain actors.
Over four years, the project aims to achieve approximately 23 million liters of additional milk production, translating in part to US$9.4 million in additional farmer revenue and US$4.14 million in competitor revenue.
These may be ambitious goals, but the dynamic conversations from the launch event reflect the collective dedication and enthusiasm that position the competition well for success.
"We are very excited to be here today and be a part of this innovative approach to strengthen dairy productivity in Tanzania," said Rodrigo Ortiz, lead consultant for AgResults.
"This prize competition has the potential to transform the country's dairy sector, specifically for its smallholder farmers."