Tanzania is in dire need of adequate milk supply with the country falling short of 9 billion liters.
Despite abundant livestock Tanzania is reported to be producing only 3.6 billion liters of milk in a full year.
Demand for milk, on the other hand, is peaking at 12 billion liters per annum as of current figures.
As the result, the Tanzania Dairy Board affirms that the country spends over 15 billion/- annually on the importation of milk. The figure translates into an average of 640 million/- per week.
Milk shortage is also described to be the catalyst behind low intake of dairy products among Tanzanians.
The Milk consumption per capita in Tanzania stagnates at 74 liters in a year. It is among the lowest in Africa and the world as a whole.
The Registrar of the Tanzania Dairy Board Dr. George Msalya reveals that there are at least 152 milk processing plants operating across the country.
And while the dairy factories have a total capacity of producing 865,000 liters of milk per day, due scarcity of raw milk from local farmers, the plants can only churn out 203,600 liters of dairy products on a daily basis.
In other words the dairy plants are only operating at just 23.5 percent of their full capacity.
Dr Msalya points out that in Tanzania 90 percent of all milk produced is distributed through informal and unofficial channels mostly door-to-door.
It seems the country’s Dairy Sector is badly equipped technologically with many of the operating factories lacking Ultra-High Temperature (UHT) milk treatment technology.
There are only five dairy plants that have invested in modern UHT technology and these include Azam Milk of Dar-es-salaam, Tanga Fresh Limited in Tanga, Milkcom, ASAS Dairies of Iringa and Galaxy Foods of Arusha.
So far none of the dairy plants in Tanzania is capable of producing milk in powder form.
The Tanzania Dairy Board (TDB) in conjunction with the Ministry of livestock and fisheries is finalizing a new project aimed at boosting milk processing and production in the country, starting with Kagera region in the Lake Zone and Mbeya in Southern Highlands as pilots.
The ‘Building a Better Tomorrow Youth Initiative for Dairy Program (BBT-YID), the envisaged initiative will specifically target young farmers being initiated into hybrid dairy cows handling as well as modern milk processing techniques.
So far, he said TDB, in cooperation with the parent ministry, has already set up a total of 221 Milk Collection Centers (MCC) countrywide.
At least 717 established Milk Collection Centers have been installed with special milk cooling tanks with ability to safely preserve milk for at least one week.
They feature a cooling capacity of 352,098 liters a day.
In the fiscal year 2019/20, Tanzania produced 3.01 billion liters of milk, out of which, 2.1 billion liters was produced from domestic dairy cows and 0.1 billion liters was from crossbred dairy cows.
The available rangeland resources and varied forage and fodder resources are suitable for grazing to the available 33.4 million cattle; 21.3 million goats and 5.65 million sheep, more than 1.85 million pigs, 47.4 million indigenous poultry and other non-conventional species such as donkeys and rabbits.
Agro-pastoralists households’ account for 80 per cent of livestock production, pastoral communities 14 per cent and remaining 6 per cent comes from the commercial ranches and dairy.