VP hands over 300 bikes to CRs for livestock extension task
Dr Mpango made the handover shortly after the opening of a two-day conference of livestock and fisheries advisers from local government authorities here, handing over the baton to RC host Anthony Mtaka for delivery subsequent to other CRs.
The livestock sub-sector is a priority area for the government, so the distribution of the motorcycles to extension workers will boost the government’s efforts to improve the sector and make it more productive, he said.
“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 Vice President noted.
Efforts are underway to further improve extension services, including the provision of quality animal husbandry education to livestock keepers, he said, calling on municipal and district executive directors to put set aside funds to address issues facing extension workers in their specific localities.
They must ensure that motorbikes are used for their intended purpose, he stressed, while Livestock and Fisheries Minister Mashimba Ndaki said that despite the excellent work being done to improve the sector livestock, it still faces challenges such as the lack of extension workers.
He called on the vice president to consider granting work permits to more extension officers, citing lack of transportation as limiting the number of farmers each officer can visit.
“Despite the presence of extension technology via mobile phones; we still need extension officers to ensure farmers are supported accordingly. The demand for officers is high; the government should consider hiring them to help the pastors,” the minister intoned, noting that the motorbikes were purchased at a cost of 864 million/- and will be distributed to 140 municipal councils in 25 regions.
Innocent Bashungwa, Minister of State in the Office of the President (Regional Government and Local Government) said that to ensure increased productivity in the livestock sector, districts should allocate at least 15 percent of their internal collections to the improvement of the sub-sector.
The money will help address various challenges faced by pastoralists and extension workers, he said.
Tixon Nzunda, the permanent secretary of the livestock section of the ministry, said the workshop aimed to develop strategies to improve the delivery of pastoral extension services to make the livestock sector more productive.
The 2019/2020 National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Census showed that Tanzania has around 33.9 million head of cattle, where smallholders own the vast majority of livestock and plantation herders 143,183 head of cattle.
Tanzania continues to rank second in Africa for cattle numbers after Ethiopia, with 60.39 million head of cattle based on available data, he added.