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CDA surveys feedlots for fattening cattle

Published on 6 January, 2007, Last updated at 12:30 GMT


The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has surveyed 54 plots of land out of the envisaged 300 in Michese, Zuzu and Nala villages in the municipality for feedlots on which high-quality cattle would be raised.

CDA Director for Planning Emson Adamson Mwanamtwa said here yesterday that the ambitious plan seeks to involve smallholder cattle keepers in a cattle-fattening scheme.

When complete, the feedlots would cover 2,000 hectares of pastureland in which Smallholder pastoralists would use the feedlots to fatten cattle for slaughter.

The scheme would produce 250 high-value cattle daily for Dodoma Modern Abattoir. The abattoir, an ultra-modern facility with capacity to slaughter 250 head of cattle daily, handles only 80 bulls a day at the moment.

The cattle the abattoir slaughters mainly for municipal consumption, however, are mostly lean and underfed. Mr Mwanamtwa said when successful, the scheme would see smallholder cattle breeders raising small herds of high-quality bulls in the feedlots.

The 300 or more feedlots, all of which would be in close proximity to the Dodoma abattoir, would have a bull population running into several thousands. The scheme would also establish a cattle feed mill, high-quality pasture farms and a bull centre with an artificial insemination department.

The scheme has delighted both the CDA Board of Directors and the Ministry of Livestock Development. Mr Mwanamtwa said the ministry has promised to send experts to help in drawing strategies for the capital intensive scheme.

He said the mill would process animal feeds including cotton and sunflower seed cakes, molasses and husks from maize and other grains. At the moment, improved pasture is under cultivation near the ultra-modern abattoir at Kizota secondary cattle market.

The area is also a holding ground for cattle earmarked for slaughter. The scheme would also benefit from advice given by the Mbande Pasture Improvement Research Centre on the fringes of the municipality. The smallholder cattle keepers would draw capital from a loaning system.

The CDA director for planning said the feedlots would vary in size but the smallest would cover four hectares. He said a South African meat company, Prime Meat, has been roped in to help train the smallholder breeders to fatten cattle in the feedlots.
The CDA has prepared the project in conjunction with the Tanzania Livestock Marketing Project and the Mpwapwa Livestock Production Research Institute. It takes the cue from the highly successful Mtibwa fattening farms where about 500 cattle are raised.

CDA has allotted four hectares to Prime Meat so that they start a demonstration feedlot that would be used to enlighten smallholder keepers on better animal husbandry methods. Dodoma Region has potential for livestock production. The scheme is also seen as a poverty reduction strategy.

Mr Mwanamtwa said intensive and extensive breeding of high-value cattle could help cut back on poverty. Cattle keepers would adopt the establishment of feedlots, fattening farms and ranches as new methods of pasture management, he said.

He said the abattoir faces a sustainability threat - the challenge of ensuring a continuous supply of 250 beef cattle daily militating. The other challenge lies in the need to produce for slaughter the required standards of cattle in terms of weight -- with the lightest bull weighing 350 kilos.

The quality of meat produced at the abattoir rarely attains international quality standards. This being the case, the beef production sector does not compete favourably at international markets and the backlash is that beef is often imported leading to high expenses and loss of foreign currency.


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