A recent study by scientists from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the Tanzanian Livestock Research Institute has highlighted the need for improved fodder market efficiency to enhance dairy farming profitability and income-generation opportunities among women and the youth.
The study, which was conducted at More Milk in Tanzania (MoreMilkiT) project sites and other selected regions in the subhumid and highland areas of Tanzania, pointed out the following actions to advance the fodder value chain:
- Recognition of the fodder value chain as a business system worthy of attention and critical to increased productivity of many livestock subsectors, not only milk. There is huge opportunity to establish policy and institutional support structures and services for fodder businesses in Tanzania.
- Development of a particular feed technology assessment system. This is necessary if fodder quality is to increase, but would need to be coupled with a quality-price signal.
- Development of the capacity of market actors to conserve fodder as a way of reducing waste during the rainy season.
- Establishment of appropriate structures for organizing and building the capacity of all fodder value chain actors to strengthen fodder businesses in rural and urban areas.
- Provision of the relevant market and technical information to the whole fodder value chain to enhance the growth of fodder marketing.
- Implementation of the interventions that lead to increased production of and access to quality fodder – options for improving fodder quality such as integration of grass-legumes mixtures – in order to stabilize the supply of fodder to the market.
A regular supply of fodder of adequate quantity and quality is a necessity for efficient milk production. This has remained a challenge for smallholder dairy farmers in Tanzania.