Regional livestock trade livestock declined seasonably with the end of the rainy season across most pastoral areas in Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia below average and erratic rainfall in central and northern parts of the Somalia.
This is according to a recently released cross border trade outlook that covers January to august 2018.
The study notes that still livestock prices were generally stable at higher levels across most markets in the region because of different reasons in diverse parts of the region. In central and northern Somalia, and parts of Somali region in Ethiopia, the increase was due to low supply following recent droughts that reduced herd sizes, as well as high demand for local consumption. In other parts of the region, prices were elevated by improved livestock body condition and increased value following recent rains which improved rangeland resources.
However livestock prices and trade in the region are expected to start picking up early in the first quarter of 2019 as livestock keepers and traders start restocking for domestic and export markets to meet high demand during the May-to-August Ramadhan and Haj 2019 festivities.
Total livestock population within Eastern African region is estimated at 123 million cattle, 163 million shoats, 5.3 million pigs, 219 million chickens where majority of the animals are kept under extensive livestock systems mainly through pastoralism.
In Tanzania, The dairy sector remains one of the key sectors.
A recent study concluded in 2018 by the Maziwa Zaidi project assessing the sustainability of smallholder dairy and traditional cattle milk production systems in Tanzania in four districts in Morogoro and Tanga regions was looking to determine the sustainability at farm level.
Candidate indicators for assessing farm sustainability were identified by 44 diverse experts and stakeholders using a two-round Delphi approach. The identified key economic indicators were milk hygiene, cow productivity, income per litre of milk and access to milk market. Social indicators included participation in organizations, women’s empowerment and the education level of the farm manager; while environmental indicators were water conservation and access to water. Based on the 15 most relevant indicators, a milk production farm sustainability assessment tool was developed, and data collected on 431 randomly selected farms in the study districts.
Further study results showed that the overall farm sustainability performances and the economic, social and environmental dimensions were all very low. It was also established that members of producers’ organizations had higher farm sustainability performances, especially the economic and social dimensions. Producers’ organization sustainability performances, particularly its provision of dairy inputs, have a strong positive relationship with farm sustainability performances, particularly the farm economic dimension. Moreover, provision of dairy production inputs and services has strong positive relationships with the farm economic sustainability and related ‘cow productivity, forage self-sufficiency and feed conservation’ indicators. Results also showed that the key factors affecting milk production farm sustainability were the use of stall-feeding system, acquiring credit, distance to trading centre and farm size.
The study recommends that: Promoting use of the milk production sustainability assessment tool to guide farm level decision making towards sustainability of their milk production farms. However, the tool may be improved based on the objectives and dynamics of sustainability in order to stay relevant to the context being studied.
Using sustainable milk producers’ organizations as a strategy to improve the economic and social farm sustainability especially in case of dairy inputs and services (e.g. training, artificial insemination, credit and feed) provision which are difficult to access at individual level.
The stall feeding system should be encouraged, where applicable, by supporting farmers to gain access to graded cows, inputs, reliable markets, service provision and training on dairy cow management, in order to further improve farm sustainability.
Distinct programs targeting women and young farmers should be put in place in order to make dairy farming attractive to young people and more workable among female-headed households.
Even so, producer organizations should be strengthened particularly in inputs and service provision, linkages with inputs suppliers and reliable milk markets, as well as effective leadership and management.
To further aid progress towards improved sustainability of its milk production, a detailed assessment that would provide more insight on the sustainability of milk production in smallholder dairy and traditional cattle production systems is recommended. If conducted at higher levels, especially at village and country levels, it would properly cover features which are not covered at farm level, like overgrazing and allocation of land for livestock in traditional cattle keeping systems and support decision-making among stakeholders.
Access the full thesis paper here as written by Célestin Munyaneza, assistant lecturer at the Faculty of Agriculture, Environmental Management & Renewable Energy, University of Technology & Arts of Byumba, Rwanda.
The three year study was concluded with funding from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and ILRI as part of the Maziwa Zaidi project and was supervised by ILRI’s Isabelle Baltenweck.