A statement issued yesterday by the acting head of the ministry’s communication unit, Rehema Mbulalina, said the move was with immediate effect, implying that the board was itself dissolved.
“The minister has made the decision because he is not satisfied with the board’s performance,” reads the statement, in part.
The board, which was charged with both regulatory and promotional functions in the country’s dairy sector, has been in existence for 14 years. It was launched in November 2005 following the enactment of the Dairy Industry Act in 2004.
Among other functions, the board was responsible for developing and monitoring the implementation of plans and strategies designed to achieve and maintain self-sufficiency and efficiency in milk production, processing and marketing in the country.
According to the statement, the board was effectively a flop since the levels of Tanzania’s milk production and sale are lower than those in African countries with fewer livestock.
The statement alluded to concerns by the minister during milk promotion week celebrations in Arusha in June this year over poor performance by the Tanzania dairy industry despite the big number of livestock the country boasts.
Minister Mpina took issue with the industry’s sluggish growth, which he blamed on poor management, adding that the production and processing of dairy products was still low largely owing to lack of morale and seriousness by those supposed tom oversee the sub-sector.
He said Kenya and Uganda produce 5.6 billion and 2.7 billion litres of milk annually, respectively, while Tanzania has more livestock and grazing land than its two neighbours but trails both with just 2.2 billion litres.
The minister also noted that, despite producing 2.7 billion litres of milk, Tanzania processed only 70 million litres – while Kenya preserved 803 million litres for processing.
Apart from processing issues, consumption of milk in Tanzania is low chiefly because of what authorities attribute to lack of public awareness on the health benefits of drinking milk.
Tanzanians, which has an estimated 32.5 million head of cattle, ranks third in the region in milk consumption – the amount put at 47 litres per person a year.
The country has 18.8 million goats and some 5.3 million sheep alongside 1.9 million pigs, 38.2 million ‘indigenous’ chickens and 36.6 million ‘improved’ chickens. Its livestock sector employs about 50 half the population, which is equivalent to 4.6 million households with incomes mainly depending on livestock.
In March this year, the government launched the Tanzania Livestock Master Plan as part of a strategy to address the daunting challenges facing the dairy sectors and help the country achieve the Tanzania Development Vision (TDV) 2025.
One of the vision’s goals is that, by year 2025, there should be a livestock sector able to run commercially through the sustainable use of improved and more productive livestock to ensure food security, improved incomes for households and the nation while conserving the environment.