Dry spell threatens to kill thousands of livestock in Tanzania

Over 5,000 cattle in Mwanga district have died. PHOTI | JANETH JOSEPH

What you need to know:

  • Nearly 900 livestock have died in Pangaroo Village alone

Kilimanjaro. Pastoral communities are now calling for government intervention amid reports that drought can caused deaths of over 60,000 livestock in northern regions.

They want to be allowed to use pastures in the buffer zone areas.

During his visit in the Mwanga and Same districts in Kilimanjaro, the national chairman of pastoralists association, Mr Jeremiah Wambura, said they would write to Prime Minister Kassimu Majaliwa about the issue.

“Tomorrow (Monday), I will write to the Prime Minister as well as to the ministries of Natural Resources and Tourism and that of Livestock and Fisheries Development to tell them about the situation,” he said.

“Immediate action is needed to save the remaining animals. Nearly 900 livestock have died in Pangaroo Village alone. Over 5,000 cattle in Mwanga have died, in Kiteto, about 30, 000 cattle and 30,000 goats and sheep have died. It is a disaster,” added Wambura.

He suggested for a temporary mechanism that can be implemented to allow pastoralists to feed their animals from the buffer zones.

Buffer zones are areas created to enhance the protection of a conservation area, often peripheral to it, inside or outside.

He said in the previous times when the regions had such similar drought situations pastoralists received help from neighbouring countries such as Kenya, for now similar talks must also be held and see if livestock can be saved by getting water on the other side.

Speaking during his tour in Simanjiro two days ago, the deputy minister for Livestock and Fisheries Development, Mr Abdallah Ulega, said the government was aware of the ongoing deaths of livestock, saying it was taking steps to contain the situation.

He said the government has allocated Sh130 billion for the construction of livestock sector’s infrastructure.

“After my visit here, all executive officers have been directed and tasked with assessing and identifying which water dam needs renovation and how much is needed as well as where we need to build new dams,” he said.

One of the pastoralists, Mr Mussa Laizer said they feared losing all their livestock due to the drought as the available water was competed for among livestock, wildlife and humans who live there.

“I ask our dear President to see through this matter as not only cattle; there are people who also died of hypertension seeing their animals dying,” said Laizer.