Research develops feeds that change fortunes of herders

By Guardian Correspondent , The Guardian
Published at 04:39 AM Apr 03 2024
Fatten cattle
Fatten cattle

A CATTLE fattening study conducted in Kongwa District, Dodoma Region, has unveiled new techniques, including feeds that can help herders increase productivity and boost incomes.

Conducted by Prof Sebastian Chenyambuga, Lecturer at the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) in collaboration with farmers at Mtanana A and Mtanana B villages, the method can improve quality and quantity of beef for both local and international markets.

Addressing reporters here yesterday, Prof Chenyambuga said that beef demand has continued to surge both in local and international markets but many herders were still unaware of techniques to increase productivity.

According to him, after the research, they came up with feeds mixed with various grains that enable cattle to grow fast and become fat thus producing not only high quantity but also high quality meat.

 “I decided to come up with this project because there is a huge challenge for herders to grab market opportunities in hotels and international markets; the cattle fattening will help pastoralists transform their activities and start producing cattle scientifically and increase income,” he said.

He said many herders have been spending many years in livestock keeping but do not get anything good in return due to poor knowledge on how to utilise the activity to make profit.

“So we invested time and jointly started to produce animal feeds from raw materials that are available in the village. These include a mixture of maize and rice grain plus molasses and sunflower seed cake,” he said.

He said they visited various villages in Kongwa and Meatu District in Shinyanga Region and found that many herders still need cattle fattening education.

“During the study at Mtanana A and Mtanana B villages, we built a shed and took two or three-year old calves and each breeder provided them with the researched feeds to see which one will respond well in fattening the cattle,” he said.

According to him, after 90 days, the study produced positive outcomes as the calves gained weight of between 50 and 100 kilogrammes more than those that were not fed.

Prof Chenyambuga said that some herders have already been linked with a reliable market at the National Ranching Company (NARCO) in Kongwa District and have started to reap big by getting profit of between 160,000/- and 235,000/- per cow.

He thanked the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) for supporting the research at a tune of 120m/- which has changed the mindsets and lives of many herders while also linking them with financial institutions.

Fikiri Robina, one of the beneficiaries, said that the project has totally changed their mindset and now they engage in smart livestock keeping which of late paid them a lot compared to the old ways of cattle herding.

Elisa Binamungu, NARCO- Kongwa Manager, said beef from the ranch is one of the favourite meats in many parts of the country and has a good reputation, selling 500 kilogrammes per day.

“Due to growing demand of beef, many farmers have changed ways and now engage in production of quality meat in order to benefit from the market opportunities available here and elsewhere,” he said