Mwanza. Tanzania has maintained its position as Africa’s second largest source of livestock which have a potential to attract leather, meat and dairy processing industries.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released the Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Census for 2019/20, which shows that the East African nation has an estimated 33.9 million cattle. Out of the number, smallholder farmers own 33.8 million cattle and large scale farmers had 143,183 cattle, NBS chief statistician, Dr Albina Chuwa, said.
He said with these figures, Tanzania continued to rank second in Africa with the number of cattle behind Ethiopia with an average of 60.39 million cattle.
The census results show that 3.1 billion litres of cows’ milk and 53.1 million litres of goats’ milk were produced in the 2019/20 agricultural year.
On the other hand, Tanzania has produced more than 11.7 million tonnes of cereals, roots and oil seeds in the 2019/20 agricultural season.
According to the census, these crops were grown by 1,800 large and small farmers on farms with a size of 13.5 million hectares.
Announcing the preliminary results of the census in Mwanza yesterday, Dr Chuwa said the survey, which involved 7.8 million households, or 65.3 percent of all households in the country, found that the sector contributed an average of 27.5 percent of GDP and employed more than 65 percent of the workforce.
The census, conducted from August 2 to October 2, this year, found that the sector contributed 24.7 percent of foreign exchange earnings through exports of agricultural products.
During the same period, 9.1 million tonnes of cereals including maize, rice and sorghum were produced where maize yielded 5.7 million tonnes, equivalent to 62.5 percent of the total food production produced followed by 2.9 million tonnes of rice and 488,724 tonnes of sorghum.
During that period, 1.6 million tonnes of major root crops including cassava, sweet potatoes and Irish potatoes were produced while 599,461 tonnes of oilseed crops such as sunflower and sesame were produced.
During that period, 706,464 tonnes of maize was processed followed by 193,462 tonnes of rice and 113,289 tonnes of sunflower.
Regarding commercial crops, Dr Chuwa said the agriculture, livestock and fisheries census which is the fifth to be conducted since Independence in 1961 found that Tanzania produced 92,396 tonnes of coffee, 40,611 tonnes of tea, 445,972 tonnes of cotton and 3,378 tonnes of cloves.
The coordinator and superintendent of the 2019/20 Census of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries for Zanzibar, Mr Mwalimu Juma Mohamed, cited lack of timely demand for inputs and extension services as among the challenges identified at the time of the census in the islands.
Despite these challenges, Mr Mohamed said poultry farming in the islands has increased from more than one million chicken in 2007/18 to more than 3.1 million chickens this year.
The census also found that Tanzania has 87.7 million poultry, of which, 75.1 million poultry are owned by smallholder farmers and ranchers while their large scale counterparts have 12.6 million poultry. Referring to fish farming, Dr Chuwa said 30,261 households have been identified for fish farming of various species.
Technology saves Sh5 billion
Commenting on the cost and timing of the 2019/20 agriculture census conducted by NBS in collaboration with the Office of the Chief Statistician of Zanzibar (OCGS), Dr Chuwa said the government has spent Sh5 billion compared to the cost of Sh10 billion spent on 2007/8 census.
“Technological advances have not only helped to reduce cost, but also the time to collect and process information on research results where we have spent two and a half months compared to the average of one to three years previously used,” said Dr Chuwa.
By Peter Saramba and Sada Amir @TheCitizenTZ [email protected]