Smallholder dairy cattle feeding technologies and practices in Tanzania: failures, successes, challenges and prospects for sustainability

In Tanzania, milk production under smallholder farming systems is season sensitive, fluctuations of feeds in both quantity and quality being the major driver. A dry season decline in milk production of over 40% due to feed scarcity is a common phenomenon. Adoption of improved feed production, conservation and utilization technologies and practices in dairy farming communities is poor. This review work was based on a key question which states “Why is adoption of improved dairy nutrition technologies and practices in Tanzania still poor despite being promoted for decades?”. We have shown that major opportunities for curbing dry season animal feed shortage include on-farm optimization of production and use of high yielding pasture varieties including napier grass (Pennisetum purperium Schumach.) and leguminous fodder species. Crop residues in particular maize stover needs to be optimized for effective dry season feeding. The major reasons for low adoption of proven technologies include limited technical knowhow among smallholder dairy farmers augmented by limited extension services and technological costs. For enhancing sustainable uptake; we suggest promotion of on-farm research, publicprivate partnerships and dairy farmers’ cooperative associations. These are vital for facilitating smooth access to information, investment capital, reliable inputs and markets among the smallholder dairy farmers.
Date of publication: 
Region Focus: 
East Africa
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Project sponsor: 
Regional University Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (Grant no. RU 2015 CARP 06)
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