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`Many livestock diseases in Tanzania hinder productivity`

22nd March 2012
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Despite being the second leading country in Africa in terms of number of livestock, Tanzania also faces big challenges associated with diseases prevalence that hinders improvement of animals’ productivity, the National Bureau of Statistics has said in its agriculture samples census report.

Immediate measures are needed by relevant authorities to reduce or eliminate this rising problem, NBS says.

The census was conducted at the end of 2007/08 by different government institutions for large and smallholder farmers.

According to the report, tick born diseases (TBD), foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), Trypanosomosis and Heliminthosis are the common health problem in large and small ruminants, while Newcastle disease (NCD) is the most problematic in chicken.

The report says there were 1,659,292 households infected with TBD, 2,614,607 infected with NCD and 252,772 contaminated with FMD.

Shinyanga, Mwanza, Mbeya and Arusha regions recorded a higher incidence of TBD, while Kilimanjaro, Arusha, Kagera and Mwanza regions had more cases of FMD, the report says.

On the other hand, Shinyanga, Mbeya and Mwanza encountered more cases of tsetse fly.

As for chicken, more incidences of NCD were reported in the regions of Mbeya (262,665) households, Shinyanga (257,498), Mwanza (189,651) and Tanga (165,400).

In the overall, NCD affected 45 percent of the total agricultural households, the report says. Despite the occurrence of such diseases, most of the farm households (61 percent) did not use any tick control methods, the report adds.

The report said dipping was practiced by only 6 percent of the households, while spraying and smearing were practiced by only 29 percent and 3 percent respectively. Similarly, 83 percent of the households did nothing to control tsetse fly.

Spraying was the most common method in tsetse control but it was practiced by only 10 percent of the households, the report says, adding that only 22 percent of the households used Newcastle vaccine to check outbreaks of the Newcastle disease.

Worm control was practiced by 2, 109,724 households, representing 47 per cent of the livestock keepers.

In Tanzania Mainland the number of livestock rearing households that received extension service were, 2,388,056 (55 percent), while in Zanzibar, it was 91,380 households, representing 26 percent of all livestock rearing households, the report notes.

However, on the Mainland, there were large regional differences. The regions with higher proportions of households receiving extension advice and its percent in brackets were Manyara (75), Kilimanjaro (74), Arusha (71), Iringa (69), Mbeya (68) and Dodoma (68).

On the other hand regions with the lowest proportion of households receiving extension services and percentage in brackets were Tabora (45), Ruvuma (43), Mwanza (42), Rukwa (40), Mtwara (34) and Lindi (22).

When compared to the 2002/03 Agriculture Sample Census results, the proportion of households receiving livestock extension has risen from 15.7 to 55 percent on the Mainland while in Zanzibar the proportion has increased from 9 to 26 percent.

The Agricultural Sample Census was supported mainly by the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) who financed most of the operational activities.

Other funds for the census were from the government. In addition, technical assistance was provided by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), it says.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
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