VP hands 300 bikes to RCs for livestock extension task

18Jan 2022
The Guardian
VP hands 300 bikes to RCs for livestock extension task

​​​​​​​VICE President Dr Philip Mpango has handed over 300 motorcycles to 25 regional commissioners to be given to agricultural extension officers to improve mobility and ensure they have the capacity to carry out their work effectively.

Vice President Dr Philip Mpango (2nd-R) pictured in Dodoma city yesterday presenting to Dodoma regional commissioner Anthony Mtaka motorcycles for official use under the oversight of various regional commissioners. Photo: Correspondent Mbaraka Kambona

Dr Mpango made the handing over shortly after opening a two-day livestock and fisheries advisers' conference from local government authorities here, handing over to host RC Anthony Mtaka for onward delivery to other RCs.

The livestock sub-sector is a priority area for the government, thus distributing the motorcycles to extension officers will boost government efforts to improve the sector and make it more productive, he stated.

“The government is aware of the challenges facing the sector. We will continue to address them and that is why President Samia Suluhu Hassan has approved the purchase of these motorcycles,” the VP noted.

Efforts are on-going to further improve extension services including provision of quality animal husbandry education to cattle breeders, he affirmed, directing municipal and district executive directors to set aside funds for solving challenges facing extension officers in their specific localities.

They must make sure the motorcycles are used for intended purposes, he emphasised, while Livestock and Fisheries minister Mashimba Ndaki said despite the great work being done to improve the livestock sector it is still facing challenges like the lack of extension officers.

He appealed to the VP to look into granting employment permits for more extension officers, citing the shortage of transport facilities as limiting the number of farmers each officer can visit.

“Despite the presence of extension technology through mobile phones; we still need extension officers to ensure farmers are assisted accordingly. The demand for the officers is high; the government should consider hiring them to help pastoralists,” the minister intoned, elaborating that the motorcycles have been bought at a cost of 864m/- and will be distributed to 140 municipal councils in 25 regions.

Innocent Bashungwa, Minister of State in the President’s Office (Regional Administration and Local Governments) said that to ensure increased productivity in the livestock sector, districts should allocate at least 15 percent of their internal collections for improving the sub-sector.

The money will help solve various challenges facing pastoralists and extension officers, he affirmed.

Tixon Nzunda, the permanent secretary in the Livestock section of the ministry, said the workshop was meant to develop strategies to improve the delivery of pastoralist extension services to make the livestock sector more productive.

The 2019/2020 National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) census on agriculture, livestock and fisheries showed that Tanzania has an estimated 33.9m head of cattle, where smallholder keepers own the vast majority of the cattle and plantation herders 143,183 cattle.

Tanzania continued to rank second in Africa in its cattle numbers after Ethiopia, with 60.39m cattle head on the basis of available data, he added.