As Tanzania Braces for Its Largest Livestock Vaccination, Minister Ulega Demands Greater Professionalism in the Sector Team

The Minister of Livestock and Fisheries, Hon. Abdallah Ulega, has said the livestock sector in Tanzania is undergoing a profound transformation, marking the beginning of a new era characterized by heightened adaptability and professional commitment.

The sector contributes a substantial 7.1% to Tanzania’s GDP, powering rural communities and boosting national income. Its evolution is driven by the government’s resolute determination to align with President Dr. Samia Suluhu Hassan’s vision of expanding the nation’s presence in the global meat markets.

The minister directed professionals in the livestock sector to embrace this vision. He was speaking at the inauguration of the 18th Conference of the Veterinary Auxiliary Health Workers Association (TAVEPA) held in Arusha on December 12, 2023.

Veterinarians and livestock experts must properly manage the activities of the livestock sector and exercise their expertise and leadership, he said.

“The management of poultry chick production, livestock feed, and hatchery operations requires adherence to established regulations and standards. Additionally, addressing the challenge of counterfeit drugs and the prudent use of antibiotics in livestock is crucial,” he noted, asthe efforts are vital for maintaining the integrity and sustainability of the sector,”

Recognizing the critical role that rigorous management plays in the sector, Minister Ulega stressed the importance of not only adhering to current standards but also actively striving for continuous improvement and excellence. This commitment to excellence sets the stage for his subsequent assertion.

“Complacency will not be tolerated in this new era. All stakeholders must elevate their efforts and performance to meet the challenges ahead,” the Minister stated emphatically, emphasizing the need for government workers and registered professionals in the livestock sector to raise their standards of practice. This policy shift aims to ensure exceptionally high levels of competency within the sector.”

The Minister announced that the ministry would adhere to strict, well-coordinated procedures to ensure the sector’s activities are conducted efficiently and effectively. He highlighted the nationwide systematic vaccination of livestock, a critical component to elevate the livestock sector.

“I want this sector to operate orderly, our livestock to be vaccinated in a well-organized manner following a specific schedule so that the efforts made by Her Excellency President Dr. Samia Suluhu Hassan in opening the meat trade market abroad can be fruitful,” Hon. Ulega said.

“The Government will soon conduct a major livestock vaccination campaign across the country to prevent diseases in livestock and to make Tanzanian meat credible in the international market, he said.

The comprehensive vaccination campaign, he noted, was pivotal for ensuring that the health standards of Tanzania’s livestock met the stringent requirements of the international meat markets, thereby increasing the global presence of Tanzanian meat products in line with President Dr. Samia’s strategic vision.

“It is crucial to vaccinate our livestock and ensure their health is visibly prioritized. In doing so, we protect our animals from diseases and increase the value of our meat in the international market,” he explained.

In executing this campaign, the Ministry will give priority to recognized professionals affiliated with their respective professional bodies. This approach aims to facilitate better coordination and management of the vaccination process.

The minister said the period of change represents a call to action for all stakeholders in the Tanzanian livestock sector. Government employees, veterinarians, farmers, and industry experts are all being called upon to contribute to this national effort. It’s a clear message: adapt to the new standards and practices or risk being sidelined in this new phase of Tanzania’s agricultural and livestock evolution.

The minister is spearheading the implementation of the Tanznia LIVESTOCK SECTOR TRANSFORMATION PLAN (LSTP) 2022/23 – 2026/27, which has been enhanced by the introduction of the Build Better Tomorrow for Livestock and Fisheries (BBT-LIFE) program.

Tanzania’s Livestock Sector Transformation Plan (LSTP) has set ambitious targets to elevate the country’s livestock industry, recognizing that timely interventions, particularly in vaccination, can be a game-changer. According to the LSTP, a three-year concerted effort in livestock dipping and vaccination could slash mortality rates by half and reduce annual losses by a staggering 70%, from 150 billion shillings to 45 billion shillings.

Despite this potential, only 10% of required livestock vaccinations have been achieved, revealing significant challenges. The impediments include inaccessible vaccines, high costs for imported vaccines, insufficient farmer awareness on the importance of regular vaccinations, and a lack of essential infrastructure for international trade.

To overcome these obstacles, the Tanzanian government faces a monumental task, requiring a concerted effort from professionals in the livestock sector.

The LSTP’s comprehensive vaccination strategy plays a pivotal role in shielding animals from debilitating diseases, offering a plethora of advantages that reverberate throughout the agricultural sector. The far-reaching impact includes increased productivity, improved marketability, enhanced food security, reduced poverty, and a commitment to sustainable development.

One of the primary dividends of this vaccination initiative is the marked increase in productivity among livestock. Healthy animals, shielded from common diseases, exhibit accelerated growth rates, produce more milk and meat, and experience fewer reproductive losses. This surge in productivity translates to not only healthier animals but also to economic gains for farmers.

Furthermore, the emphasis on vaccination within the LSTP contributes to improved marketability. Livestock that is free from diseases commands higher prices in the market, thereby elevating incomes for farmers. This economic upturn not only benefits individual farmers but also fortifies the economic foundation of the entire agricultural sector.

The ripple effects of the LSTP extend beyond economic considerations to encompass the realm of food security. The plan’s focus on vaccination correlates with increased livestock production, ensuring better access to animal protein for Tanzanian citizens. This key facet addresses a fundamental aspect of the nation’s food security, as enhanced production facilitates improved availability and affordability of essential protein sources.

In addition to its economic and food security benefits, the LSTP addresses the critical issue of poverty reduction. A flourishing livestock sector, buoyed by effective vaccination strategies, generates employment opportunities and opens doors for rural communities to escape the clutches of poverty. This holistic approach to poverty reduction aligns with the broader goals of sustainable development.

Importantly, the LSTP aligns with environmental sustainability goals by promoting healthy animals as contributors to optimized land use and reduced reliance on antibiotics. This forward-thinking approach acknowledges the interdependence of animal health, environmental well-being, and the overall sustainability of the agricultural sector.

Looking ahead, the LSTP holds the promise of transforming Tanzania’s livestock sector into a torchbearer of economic growth and resilience. By safeguarding animal health, boosting productivity, and empowering farmers, this visionary plan has the potential to elevate the nation’s agricultural landscape. The combined impact of these measures is poised to drive sustainable development, improve food security, and create a brighter future for Tanzania’s rural communities.