Supply and Commercial Viability of Forage in Tanzania
AbstractThis study aimed at understanding the forage potential and current dynamics in Tanzania so as to improve forage supply chains that would in turn increase availability, accessibility and affordability of forage to smallholder dairy farmers in North Eastern Tanzania. The study was a cross sectional in design and data were collected from review of literature and from 85 respondents using key informant interviews and focused group discussions. The data collected was summarized using Microsoft Excel and market system/sub sector analytical tools. Sub-sector mapping analysis was used to map the core forage actors, product flows and interrelationships. Results indicate that forage sub-sector growth is pinned down by several systemic constraints associated with availability, accessibility and affordability including climate change effects, relative small land availability for grazing and for forage producers, inadequate quality and certified forage seed supply, inadequate extension services, relative high capital investments and inadequate market development in support of whole forage market system. Furthermore, results indicate that forage market system in Tanzania is still at its infancy stage as forage commercialization practices is dominated by very limited large forage businesses. Main commercial forage farms in Tanzania produce essentially hay. Pwani and Tanga regions account for about 62% of the total hectares under forage production. The supporting functions by public and private sector are scattered and no clear policy and regulatory environment in place to promote the forage industry, yet the main driver in animal husbandry is proper feeding regime. In 2016/17, about 1,150,916 bales of hay were produced by both public and private farms. Price of forage varied per season and the variation depended mainly on the availability and cost of transportation. In conclusion, improvement is needed in the production, preservation and commercialization of forage in order to meet the growing demand.
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