World Bank urges Tanzania to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the livestock sector

What you need to know:

  • The minister for Livestock and fisheries, Mr Abdallah Ulega, has reiterated the government's commitment to strengthening existing ties and partnerships to address the identified challenges

Dar es Salaam. The World Bank (WB) has highlighted an urgent need to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions in Tanzania's livestock sector, noting that a single cow emits over 80 kilogrammes of methane annually.

This call to action is detailed in the World Bank’s 21st Tanzania Economic Update, titled ‘‘Harnessing the Opportunity for a Climate-Smart and Competitive Livestock Sector in Tanzania.’’

Speaking during the launch of the report in the city on June 24, WB Country Director for Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, Mr Nathan Belete, emphasised the significant impact of dairy greenhouse gas emissions in Tanzania.

He noted that enteric methane accounts for 88 percent of these emissions, with the remaining 12 percent stemming from manure management.

“If no action is taken, these emissions are projected to increase by 50 percent by 2030. It is therefore crucial to intensify Tanzania’s methane mitigation efforts to achieve a triple win: acceleration of economic growth, increased environmental protection, and improved livelihoods for the poor,” he said.

Highlighting the gravity of the situation, Mr Belete said Tanzania is home to approximately 1.4 percent of the global and 11 percent of Africa’s cattle population.

Mr Belete said the sector contributes to 7.4 percent of Tanzania’s GDP and supports about one-third of local households.

There are untapped opportunities for improving food and nutrition security, creating jobs, and driving inclusive growth.

“Despite its potential, the livestock sector receives limited investment, which hinders its growth and sustainability. It faces critical challenges due to an unproductive herd, a high disease burden, and limited access to critical inputs and finance,” he said.

During his presentation, the WB’s senior agriculture economist, Mr Ernest Ruzindaza, said most of the country's livestock is raised in agro-pastoral systems (80 percent), with 14 percent in pastoral systems and 6 percent on commercial ranches.

He said the sector employs 33 percent of the population, or 4.6 million households and it contributes 13.8 percent of rural households’ income, with the poorest households generating nearly one-fifth of their income from these sales.

“Policy recommendations for strengthening climate change adaptation and mitigation include designing and effectively implementing climate-smart adaptation strategies and risk management plans for the livestock sector,” he said.

Mr Ruzindaza also noted that it is important for the country to mitigate methane emissions for climate action and to scale up renewable energy solutions.

Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, Prof Daniel Mushi, outlined several strategies to address these emissions.

"To reduce emissions, we need to limit practices such as the rearing of cattle. One effective approach is to improve their diet so that the emissions per unit of livestock produced are minimised," he said, noting that fibrous feeds are known to produce more methane compared to concentrate feeds.

The deputy PS stated that improved cattle breeds can significantly reduce methane emissions per unit of livestock produce.

Prof Mushi also emphasised the importance of reducing livestock diseases and implementing better land use practices to combat land degradation.

The minister for Livestock and fisheries, Mr Abdallah Ulega, assured the stakeholders of the government's commitment to strengthening existing ties and partnerships to address the identified challenges.

“It is my sincere hope that the recommendations emerging from the discussions will be converted into actionable strategies to move forward the agenda of livestock transformation,” he said.