Dwindling supply of cattle that is becoming all too evident at the auction and sale grounds, now threatens to morph into a rapidly growing supply-price disastrous spiral. The supply of animals at the Pugu market per day has sharply decreased from 711 cattle in June to 583 in July that is a startling 18 percent in just but a month.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade announced the shocking drop on Tuesday in its market information release.
“This is because of, explained the report, the economic concept of speculation, where we have farmers refusing to sell, hoarding for security for unforeseen problems given that they have enough harvest for food and other use, as a result there are few animals in markets,” it said.
Price for mature male grade (G) 2 increased by 11.9 percent from 700,000/- in June this year to 783,000/- in July according to the report. The effect of this high demand is reflected in the odd price drop for female mature G3 cattle from 527, 000/- to 508,500/-, about 3.6 percent.
It is not only in cattle, there is a drop in the supply of goat and sheep too, estimated at 8.3 percent and 61.3 per cent respectively.
Mature male prices have responded accordingly going up by 6.7 per cent and by 6.4 per cent for G2 and G3 respectively.
Sheep market price also increased, female G2 to 84,000/- from 77,500/- per head, equivalent to 9 percent, while the male G2 recorded a lower increase at 95,000/- from 89,000/- 6.7 percent.
Experts say livestock production is one of the major agricultural activities in Tanzania. The sub sector among other things, contributes to the national food supply, converts rangelands resources into products suitable for human consumption and is a source of cash income and like all assets it is a store of value.
It provides about 30 per cent of the agricultural GDP. Out of the sub sector’s contribution to GDP, about 40 percent originates from beef production, 30 percent from milk and another 30 percent from poultry and small stock production.
In Tanzania, three livestock production systems are commonly distinguished in the rangeland areas, commercial ranching, pastoralism and agro-pastoralism.
While supply at the various trading venues decreases, the actual number of livestock has been increasing steadily and at the moment the country ranks second in Africa in cattle head count reports.
That growing number of cattle, is increasing at roughly the same rate as the human population growth. Not surprising since, out of 3.7 million households in the country, 3 percent are pastoralists and 7 percent are agro-pastoralists.
While encouraging private investment, the Government is to concentrate on core services to support the development of this sub sector. Nonetheless, the Ministry of Industry and Trade report shows that price and supply fluctuations are normally affected by improper market plans on the part of farmers.
To compliment the fact, the country’s rangeland carrying capacity is estimated at 20 million animal units, only 16 million animal units are being utilized.
There is therefore ample potential for expansion of the livestock industry through better animal husbandry and addition of livestock, the reports say.
It is indeed a contradiction for while we increase cattle head count, domestic suppliers are hoarding and inflating the crucial source of protein limiting access to a community much in need, they say.