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An inventory of livestock feed resources in Tanzania

A.B. Lwoga and N.A. Urio

Sokoine University of Agriculture
P.O. Box 3000, Chuo Kikuu, Morogoro, Tanzania

Abstract

The main feed resources in Tanzania can be grouped into natural grasslands, established pastures, cereals and root crops, and agricultural by-products.

The main limitations of the natural grasslands are their characteristic seasonal productivity, low production of dry matter, the low quality of herbage and the low level of range management. Planted pastures play a limited role as a feed resource and are confined to the intensively cultivated areas. The poor link between pasture research and extension and a shortage of pasture seed have also contributed to the underdevelopment of this resource.

Cereals and root crops are produced primarily for human consumption, although the potential exists for increased production to meet both human and livestock needs.

Agricultural by-products contribute significantly to livestock feeding. Improvements in handling, processing and transportation of the by-products, as well as integration between livestock and crop production, could greatly increase the utilization of this feed resource.

Introduction

Tanzania has one of the largest livestock populations in Africa with 13.5 million head of cattle, 5.5 million goats, 3.6 million sheep, 0.4 million pigs and 23.2 million chickens (Ministry of Agriculture 1982b). Most of the cattle are indigenous Tanzania Shorthorn Zebu (TSZ) and the rest (estimated at 30,000 head (Lohay 1977) are exotic dairy animals and crosses with the TSZ). The bulk of the livestock are under traditional production systems in which the animals are expected to fend for themselves to a large extent and to contend with the environmental stresses imposed on them by nature.

Livestock are an important resource in Tanzania. They:

(i) are the direct source of cash income and livelihood for an estimated 10% of the population (Ministry of Agriculture 1982a);

(ii) are the major source of animal protein throughout the country;

(iii) provide farm power in some areas in the country;

(iv) play an important role in some traditional cultural activities (for example, payment of brideprice);

(v) provide raw materials for industry (for example, tanning and leather industries).

The direct contribution of livestock to the total exports of the country was estimated at 13.2% in 1971 (Ministry of Agriculture 1982a).

In spite of the large population, livestock in the country have a low productivity (see Table 1). In a review of the livestock situation in 1982, the Ministry of Agriculture (1982b) noted with concern:

It is generally agreed that inadequate nutrition is one of the main factors accounting for the low productivity of livestock in the country (Calo 1976; Ministry of Agriculture 1982a; Mwakatundu and Mpatwa 1977). Ruminant livestock obtain adequate feed from grazing during the rainy season, but are on the verge of starvation during the dry season. In some years they die from starvation by the thousands. Reproductive performance of less than 50%, mortality rates of 15% from birth to weaning and over 5% from weaning to market, are thus the rule rather than the exception (Calo 1976). Pigs and chickens, which in traditional production systems are left to scavenge around the homestead, often do not obtain an adequate or balanced diet.

Table 1. Estimates of cattle population and productivity in Tanzania 1982

Cattle population ('000)

Beef and veal ('000 head slaughtered)

Carcass weight (kg/animal)

Fresh milk ('000 tonnes)

Cow milk (kg/animal)

13,150

1,351

102

376

160

Source: FAO 1983.

(i) The small number of cattle sold, resulting in slaughter plants operating below capacity;

(ii) The decline in the average weight of beef carcasses from 250 kg in 1971 to 180 kg in 1981;

(iii) The country's high demand for dairy products which exceeded local production, forcing the Government to import them at an average annual value of TSh 80 million;

(iv) The inability of the country to export beef and meat on account of the poor quality of these products and, hence, their non-competitiveness on the world market.

Livestock feed resources

In Tanzania livestock feed resources can be grouped into four main categories, namely, natural grasslands, established pastures, cereals and root crops, and agricultural by-products. The following account attempts to describe them and assess their potential.

Natural Grasslands

Natural grasslands are the most important feed resources for ruminant livestock in Tanzania. It has been estimated that the country has 451,903 square kilometres (or 51% of the total land-area) of natural pastures which support over 90% of the total ruminant livestock population (UNDP/FAO 1967; Ministry of Agriculture 1982a). These areas, which correspond to ecological-climatic zones IV and V of Pratt, Greenway and Gwynne (1966), are represented by grazing lands on the low eastern plateau between the coastal plains and the eastern rift valley, and on the central plateau. They are characterized by low and seasonal rainfall (usually 760 mm or less annually) and high evapotranspiration potential (over 1,800 mm). The vegetation is characterized by the dominance over most areas of Themeda and Hyparrhenia grass species and the conspicuously meagre content of herbaceous forage legumes (Thomas 1973).

A basic shortcoming of natural grasslands as a source of feed for ruminant livestock is their low production of dry matter due to a combination of the negative effects of inadequate rainfall and the dearth of available soil nitrogen on plant growth (Russell 1966; Wigg, Owen and Mukurasi 1973). The seasonality of plant growth, which is a reflection of the annual rainfall distribution pattern, further restricts the availability of herbage for the grazing animal to four or five months of the wet season over most of the natural grasslands.

Another shortcoming of the natural grassland is the low quality of the herbage. Results from an investigation in which Karue (1974) determined the nutritive values of grass species from similar grasslands in Kenya showed that, for most of the grasses, available energy and crude protein fell short of the animal's (Boran cattle) nutritional requirements during both the dry and wet seasons. In a review of the nutritional value of tropical grasses and folders, French (1957) observed that: (i) irrespective of area in the tropics, or of grass species under consideration, the highest crude-protein values are recorded during the wet season; and (ii) tropical grasses often develop not only a high proportion of carbohydrates but also a high lignin content at an early vegetational stage and the lignin reduces the overall digestibility of the grasses. French (1957) presented data to show that the fast growth of tropical grasses was associated with a rapid decline in their mineral content, especially of phosphorus and sodium. The combined effects of the small quantities and the low quality of herbage from natural grasslands is to reduce drastically their carrying capacity. Pratt and Gwynne (1977) estimated that 4-12 hectares of similar grasslands in Kenya were required to support one livestock unit. Other factors, for instance the presence of game in some areas, annual burning during the dry season, tsetse infestation in some areas and uneven distribution of water supplies, further reduce the effective carrying capacity of the natural grasslands.

Considering both their size and their role as the source of feed for most of the country's ruminant livestock population, national grasslands are, nevertheless, an important resource in Tanzania. Their improvement through better management and utilization, bush and tsetse control, increasing the content of forage legumes (including suitable browse species), and provision of adequate water supplies could, by themselves, considerably raise the production efficiency of ruminant livestock in the country.

Planted Pastures

There is a lack of information on the area of planted pastures in the country, but it comprises a very small proportion of the total land area under cultivation. These pastures are found on dairy farms and units mainly in areas of high crop-production potential. Table 2 shows the various types of planted pastures and the plant species grown. Overall, they are much more productive than natural grasslands and form the basis of the nontraditional dairy industry in the country.

The temperate pastures deserve special mention because of their high potential for improving dairy production in the high altitude areas. Presently only 12,000 ha out of a total of 29,000 ha of available land in Kitulo are under planted pasture with a carrying capacity of 1 ha/livestock unit* yielding, on average, 8 kg milk per day (TISCO 1983). TISCO also estimated (1983) that with good management and utilization the same pastures could support 1 livestock unit/0.5 ha, yielding an average of 10 kg milk per day.

* 1 livestock unit = a mature TSZ animal weighing 350 kg.

A major constraint to the development of planted pastures is the shortage of pasture seed. There is no proper pasture-seed production programme and consequently the country has had to rely on imported seed (Lwoga 1979).

Another constraint has been the failure to bring pasture research results to the point of application, even though much research on pasture has been conducted in Tanzania (Lwoga 1979).

Cereals and Root Crops

Tanzania produces substantial amounts of cereals and root crops (see Table 3). Because of their high content of readily digestible carbohydrates, they are valuable feeds for livestock, especially the monogastrics. However, they are produced primarily for human consumption and most of them are in short supply in the country. In addition, some of them are used in the brewing industry and others (especially cassava) are likely to be used in the starch industry in future (Kategile and Uric 1982). Appreciable quantities of sorghum are exported (Ministry of Agriculture 1979). Changes in priorities have to be made to reduce the quantity exported and channel part of the produce into livestock production (Kategile and Uric 1982), but quantities are likely to diminish with improved storage.

Table 2. Types of planted pastures and plant species grown

Pasture type

Grass species

Legume species

Temperate pastures





Perennial ryegrass

White clove

Lolium perenne


Dactylis glomerata


Festuca arundinacea


Avena sativa


Sub-tropical pastures






Chloris gayana

Desmodium intorum

Panicum maximum

Desmodium sandwicense

*Pennisetum purpureum

Neonotonia wightii

*Setaria splendida

*Medicago sativa

*Tripsacum laxum


*Zea mays


Tropical pastures

(a) Humid-sub-humid


Chloris gayana

Pureraria phaseloides

Setaria anceps

Neonotonia wightii

Panicum maximum

Desmodium spp.

*Pennisetum purpureum


*Tripsacum laxum


*Zea mays


*Sorghum


(b) Sub-humid to semi-humid

Chloris gayana

Stylosanthes gracilis

Cenchrus ciliaris

Centrosema pubescens

Cynodon plectostachus

Rynychosia sennarenis

Panicum maximum


*Mainly fodder
Sources: Madallali 1974; Mwakatundu and Mpatwa 1977; TISCO 1983

Table 3. Cereal and root-crop production 1970/71-1979/80 ('000)

Year

Maize

Paddy

Wheat

Sorghum/millet

Cassava

Potatoes

Sweet potatoes

1970/71

870

192

60

413

3,444

74

248

1971/72

850

202

77

367

3,209

67

229

1972/73

980

178

67

409

3,189

120

234

1973/74

750

193

49

423

3,388

165

296

1974/75

750

141

32

280

3,688

101

302

1975/76

825

157

46

440

3,800

87

320

1976/77

897

180

58

390

3,900

92

330

1977/78

968

203

35

390

4,000

96

335

1978/79

1,000

260

38

410

4,450

85

330

1979/80

900

250

30

380

4,550

85

330

Source: Ministry of Agriculture 1982.

Given the above situation, it is unlikely that cereals and root crops will become a major source of livestock feed in the country in the near future. With improved production, however, they could contribute significantly to livestock feed requirements in the future.

Agricultural By-Products

Apart from natural grasslands, agricultural by-products offer great promise as a source of ruminant livestock feed in Tanzania. Table 4 presents estimates of the production of these materials in the country.

Farm Residues

These include materials from annual crops (for instance, various types of stover, straw, maize cobs, cassava peelings and groundnut haulms and hulls) and "wastes" from perennial crops (for instance, coffee pulp and hulls, sugarcane tops, bagasse, molasses, sisal pulp, and cashew fruit and kernel powder). Collectively, the annual production of farm residues in the country has been estimated at 13 million tonnes dry matter, having, on average, 3.0% digestible crude protein and 1.90 Mcal ME/kg which, if fully utilized, could support 6.6 million head of 200 kg animals at maintenance level for one year (Calo 1976).

Annual crop residues are routinely fed to ruminant livestock, either in situ, where farmers keep large herds, or in stalls where farmers keep a few animals for milk production. In the main cropping areas of the country, however, these materials are either left to rot or burnt in the fields after harvest (Kiangi 1979).

Perennial crops generate large quantities of residues. On plantations, the presence of these materials makes possible the establishment of large-scale livestock feeding operations. Few plantations in the country, however, have livestock enterprises. In most cases the materials are used as mulch (e.g. coffee and sisal pulp), burnt to produce power for processing plants (e.g. bagasse), used as raw materials in other industries (e.g. molasses for the production of alcohol), or exported (e.g. molasses).

Considerable research has been carried out in Tanzania and elsewhere on means of improving the nutritive value of crop residues (Kategile et al. 1981; Kiangi and Kategile 1981; Urio 1981). As elsewhere, the improvement in feeding value involved the use of chemicals such as sodium hydroxide and ammonia which proved to be expensive and their supply to be unreliable. The current trend is to improve utilization of the residues through better handling and transportation and supplementing for those nutrients which are most limiting. Traditional in situ grazing has long been known to be wasteful (French 1943).

Milling By-Products

Milling by-products are an important group which, along with oilseed cakes, form a key raw material in the production of feeds for various classes of livestock in the country. Unfortunately, the majority of farmers in the rural areas have access neither to the by-products nor the feeds since most of the milling and feed manufacturing operations are carried out in the large urban centres (Kategile and Urio 1982). In addition, the quantities of feeds produced are far below existing demand, and there is a lack of an efficient distribution system in the country (Ministry of Livestock Development 1983; Mwakatundu and Mpatwa 1977).

Oilseed By-Products

These products are, perhaps, the most important group because of their high content of protein, the most deficient nutrient in natural grassland herbage and in the other agricultural by-products. Used as supplementary feeds they could help not only to increase the overall productivity of the animals but also to make more efficient use of protein-deficient feed resources. Calo (1976) estimated the potential supply of this group to be of the order of 167,000 tonnes of dry matter, with an average content of 25.7% digestible crude protein and an energy content of 2.71 Mcal ME/kg, which if fully utilized to supplement natural grassland grazing could add an extra 42,000 tonnes of beef without increasing the offtake.

At present, substantial quantities of cotton-seed cake are exported (Kategile and Uric 1982). As in the case of milling byproducts, the lack of an efficient distribution system is a constraint to the utilization of oilseed cakes where they are most needed.

Other By-Products

Other by-products are produced in small quantities and their supply is often unreliable. Nevertheless, they deserve mention because of their high protein content which makes them particularly good supplementary feeds for pigs and chickens. They include brewery by-products (see Table 4), fishmeal, bonemeal and meatmeal. The brewery waste produced by the Arusha brewery is almost exclusively and fully utilized by smallholder dairy and pig farmers around Arusha. There has also been some attempt to produce pelletized dairy feed using brewers waste by private feed manufacturers in Moshi, but the limited supply of this byproduct has been a major constraint to this effort.

Table 4. Estimates of the annual production of major crop residues and processing by-products in Tanzania

Crop

Dry matter ('000 tonnes)

Digestible crude protein ('000 tonnes)

Metabolizable energy (million Mcal)

Maize


Stover

3,509.5

155.9

6,844.5


Cobs

1,269.0

2.8

2,527.2


Germ meal

65.0

10.4

191.8


Bran

44.0

2.7

85.9


Sub-total

4,887.5

171.8

9,649.4

Rice


Straw

604.0

10.2

923.4


Hulls

15.0

0.1

22.3


Bran

10.0

0.5

18.5


Sub-total

629.0

10.8

964.2

Sorghum


Stover

1,875.0

14.5

3,283.4


Threshed heads

150.0

4.5

270.6


Bran

10.0

0.5

19.0


Sub-total

2,035.0

19.5

3,573.0

Millet


Stover

1,352.0

16.9

2,580.5


Bran

5.0

0.5

15.5


Sub-total

1,357.0

17.4

2,596.0

Wheat


Straw

573.0

16.0

1,011.2


Bran

18.0

1.8

39.8


Sub-total

591.0

17.8

1,051.0

Cassava


Peelings

88.0

0.9

238.0


Waste-meal

230.0

0.0

678.0


Sub-total

318.0

0.9

916.0

Groundnuts


Haulms

112.0

10.8

220.5


Hulls

10.0

0.2

7.1


Sub-total

122.0

11.0

227.6

Coffee


Pulp

11.3

0.7

31.4


Hulls

3.3

0.2

6.4


Sub-total

14.6

0.9

37.8


Sisal





Pulp

300.0

0.0

615.0

Sugarcane


(a) Plantation





Tops

36.5

0.9

71.7


Bagasse (50%) used for fuel

24.1

0.0

29.6


Molasses

46.6

0.6

127.5


(b) Small-farm





tops

47.3

1.2

92.8


Sub-total

154.5

2.7

321.6

Cashew


Fruit (dehydrated)

382.1

25.2

1,250.3


Kernel powder

6.5

1.1

13.6


Sub-total

388.6

26.4

1,263.9

Pyrethrum flowers


Marc

2.8

0.3

8.4

Sunflower seed


Cake

3.7

1.6

10.1


Hulls

1.8

0.1

3.1


Sub-total

5.5

1.7

13.2

Cotton seed


Cake

110.0

37.9

347.7


Hulls

42.0

0.1

65.3


Sub-total

152.0

38.0

413.0

Sesame seed


Cake

5.2

2.3

14.1

Copra


Cake

3.9

0.9

11.2

Kapok


Cake

0.18

0.1

0.4

Brewery by-products


Brewery grain (wet)

1.8

0.3

4.3


Brewers yeast

0.4

0.2

1.3


Sub-total

2.2

0.5

5.6


Grand total

10,969.0

323.0

21,681.4

Source: Calo 1976

Conclusion

It is clear from above that Tanzania has a considerable reserve of livestock feed resources which, if fully exploited, could help to increase the level of production from its large livestock population. It is worth drawing attention to some of the factors that have contributed to the underutilization of livestock feed resources.

Development planners have long regarded livestock and crop production as mutually exclusive activities that compete for the same resource (i.e. land). Consequently, development plans have often failed to integrate the two activities resulting, in turn, in the underutilization or wastage of agricultural by-products which could otherwise be made available to livestock. Large crop-production schemes are frequently established without consideration being given to the use of crop residues as a livestock feed. Similarly, the lack of transport and handling facilities between the major crop and livestock areas blocks the flow of crop by-products to where they could be fed to livestock.

Unco-ordinated, and sometimes wrong, decisions have often deprived the country of the opportunity to supplement and alleviate grazing pressure on natural grassland with agricultural by-products. The export of such byproducts as molasses, cotton-seed cake and bonemeal has meant the country exporting materials to feed livestock in other countries and importing dairy products at high prices.

Finally, improvements in the management and utilization of natural grassland have not been given due attention in some livestock-improvement schemes. Overemphasis on veterinary services, dips and water supplies was, for instance, shown to result in increased livestock populations with the consequent overuse and deterioration of rangeland in Maasailand and in central Tanzania.

References

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