Speaking during a function to handover the goat breeds to the Maasai villagers, Heifer International Tanzania Coordinator, Dr Kapela Lazaro said the organisation has so far donated a total of 1,280 goats in Longido district.
According to Dr Lazaro they have also provided 70 cow breeds and 2, 560 local chickens to boost poultry business. He said they also support villagers to establish beekeeping projects whereas the organization provided 50 bee hives worth 514,108/-.
“We offer the dairy breeds through a specific arrangement where farmers are required to form groups. When the goats reproduce they are given to other group members until they all have the quality breeds. We have 64 groups of dairy framers in Longido district and each have been given the hybrid goat breeds”, said Dr Lazaro adding the new breeds can produce enough meat and milk compare to local breeds that farmers have been keeping for years.
He added that the organization has been assisting famers through trainings on how to keep the domestic animals as well as extension services and cleaning of cattle dips.
He however noted that despite the progress, farmers face various challenges including lack of proper knowledge to keep the animals and lack of experts to train them.
Farmers have failed to achieve their production targets due to diseases since most of them do not how to control them.
District commissioner for Longido Frank Mwaisumbe said the problem becomes bigger because the area had limited number of extension officers as most of them prefer working in urban areas.
The DC used the opportunity to call upon the extension officers to train the farmers on how to keep the donated hybrid dairy breeds so they reproduce and divided them to other farmers. He was optimistic that livestock keeping would help villagers to improve their livelihoods and contribute to the country’s economic growth.
The distribution of the seeds is an implementation of the Hifer International based in New York, United States of America (USA) in collaboration with the Belgium fund for Security (BFFS).
The company has since 2015 offered seeds to various countries including Tanzania through ‘maisha bora’ programme.