TANZANIA – The Tanzania Veterinary Laboratories Agency (TVLA) has launched a series of initiatives aimed at improving the quality of animal feeds available in the market.

Dr. Stella Bitanyi, CEO of TVLA, has urged feed producers to submit samples of their products to the national animal health agency for rigorous testing and recommendations for improvements.

Selling low-quality feeds is illegal in Tanzania to protect the nation’s livestock farmers,” Dr. Bitanyi emphasized during a meeting with feed producers in Dar es Salaam.

This announcement follows a joint inspection by TVLA and the Livestock Ministry in the northeastern region of Arusha, which uncovered instances of feed adulteration that could harm livestock health and performance.

The TVLA and Livestock Ministry officials convened a meeting with producers, distributors, and customers of animal feeds to stress the importance of verifying feed quality. This move aligns with broader government efforts to enhance the livestock sector.

In October last year, Abdallah Ulega, Minister for Livestock and Fisheries, called for innovation, investment, and the adoption of new technology in the feed manufacturing sector.

At the time, media reports highlighted the need for developments to reduce market prices for livestock products, which are higher in Tanzania compared to neighboring Kenya.

Prolonged drought, attributed to climate change, was also expected to exacerbate national food insecurity.

The national feed output for the 2022-23 period reached 1.58 million metric tons (mmt), up from 1.38 mmt in the previous year.

The number of feed mills increased from 199 to 221, with 22 new facilities distributed across eight regions.

Despite these advancements, 60% of the country’s feed demand is still met through imports. To combat the feed shortage, the government is prioritizing domestic industries and offering incentives to local producers.

As part of the Livestock Sector Transformation Plan 2022-23 – 2026-27, the government aims to attract investments in livestock genetics, animal health, extension services, research, training, value-added products, and a national ranching company.

The plan also highlights the importance of water and pasture management and feed production.

According to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), Tanzania is facing worsening feed ingredient shortages.

Lower corn prices have led local growers to switch crops, potentially reducing this year’s harvest by 6%. Corn, crucial with consumption pegged at 5.63mt starting in July, has seen FAS revise down feed use to 450,000mt.

Interviews with poultry owners revealed that feeds, primarily consisting of corn bran, sunflower cake, and fishmeal, often lack sufficient protein and amino acids. The high cost of imported ingredients like premixes further exacerbates the issue.

Additionally, there is widespread unawareness of the harmful effects of aflatoxins and other mycotoxins on human and animal health.

Consequently, livestock farmers are scaling back due to the high cost of protein feeds, compounded by disrupted soybean imports. Tanzanian crushers have halted operations due to unmet soybean supply challenges.

Research by Wageningen University & Research (WUR) has identified deficiencies in feed quantity and quality as major factors hindering the productivity of dual-purpose chickens in Tanzania.

 In collaboration with local researchers, WUR’s study underscores the need for improved feeding strategies in dual-purpose chicken farming. Ensuring that feed formulations are suitable, economical, and safe is critical for enhancing productivity and protecting animal health.

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