How drought pushed KitetoDistrict pastoralists into unexpected poverty – IPPmedia

​​​​​​​AT least 50 percent of pastoralists from Makame village of Kiteto district in Manyara region are struggling with poverty nightmares, after livestock business stability had been affected by the 2021 prolonged drought.
The drought that had severely hit the village between September 2021 and earlier January this year affected livestock health thus pulling down livestock selling prices at the village and district markets, as a result, pastoralists pockets are running empty, Smart Money can report.
Basic needs poverty slightly declined to 25.7 percent in 2020 from 26.4 percent in 2018 according to the National Bureau of Statistics but pastoralists say that the poverty rate might depict a different picture in their pockets following the drought impact.
“Drought has really dragged most of us into unexpected poverty. Thousands of our cattle had died while selling a few on loss. A bull that was sold at 600,000/- in April 2021 was sold at 50,000/- in November of the same year,” said Isaya Tutala, Makame Village Chairperson.
According to him, a He-goat sold at 100,000/- in April last year was bought at 20,000/- in November 2021 mostly by bulk buyers from Kondoa district in Dodoma region who supply the cattle and goats to Dar es Salaam city Pugu market. A sheep was sold at 15,000/- from the previous 65,000/- of the same periods.
He said in the village, at least 4,000 cattle, an estimate of 2,000 goats and 1,700 sheep died from the drought implications.
“I had kept 70 cattle of which 40 died from drought, I sold five of them at between 50,000/- and 60,000/- and have remained with only 25,” asserted Tutala.
Isaya Ole-Kilae, Makame Ward Councilor, told Smart Money that drought has forced pastoralists to feed their cattle with dry maize, an attempt that prompted hunger threats to humans in his authority territory.
“There was no livestock feed at all. One had to sell two bulls to secure a 100Kg of maize sack worth 95,000/- to feed 25 cattle a day. One cattle feeds an average of four kilos a day. This is not enough for the cattle’s health. Purchasing price for a 100Kg sack of maize had piled up to 95,000/- in November 2021 from 45,000/- in April 2021,” said Ole-Kilae.
According to him, after rains had started in February this year, the purchasing price for the 100Kg sack of maize has slowed down to between 78,000 and 83,000/-. He said a goat and a sheep each had to feed one kilogram of maize a day.
“As of earlier March this year, a cattle sold at 50,000/- in November last year can be marketed at a price of between 150,000/- and 200,000/-. I personally lost not less than 200 cattle from 750 I used to keep. Hundreds of calves had died because their mothers’ lucked feeds thus affected milk production,” said Ole-Kilae.
A he-goat sold at 20,000/- last November is now sold at 50,000/- and a sheep sold at 15,000/- now buyers can get it at 30,000/-.
He clarified that as of November 2021, a cattle that used to produce three liters of milk back in April 2021, had hardly produced one liter. There is not much difference noticed in milk production as of early this month compared to last November.
Ole-Kilae pleaded to the government to consider long term climate change adaptation measures in its policies that can offer recovering funds to pastoralists who have been affected by either drought or floods.
Payana Lengima (50) Ndikiya Hamlet Chairperson who had 200 cattle is now left with only 30 cattle after 170 had died from drought.
On his part, Noah Sendela (53), Makame village resident who used to keep 10 cattle had lost all of them.
“They all died in the prolonged drought season. I was given the cattle as part of my granddaughter’s bride price” he blamed.
According to Tanzania Census data for Population and Housing 2012 by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Manyara region has a population size of 1,425,131. Kiteto District Council has a population of 244, 669 according to the Census.
The Census data show that 42.7 percent of households use unprotected sources of drinking water, piped water (36.8 percent), and other protected sources (20 percent). The data show that 50.1 percent of Manyara region’s population build their houses’ walls using poles and mud.
28.5 percent use backed bricks, 13.7 percent use Sun dried bricks while 3.6 percent use grass and 2.8 percent use cement bricks. The remaining minor percentage of the region’s households use other materials such as stones, timber, Iron sheets and tents.
On households by ownership of assets, 74.8 percent of the population own houses, Hand-hoe (74.1 percent), Land/Farm (70.4 percent), Mobile phone (63.9 percent), Radio (61.6 percent), Bicycle (39.9), Television (15.6 percent) and Motorcycle (5 percent).
The Census data show that 86.8 percent of the region’s households in rural areas are involved in livestock keeping and poultry farming while in urban Manyara it is 13.2 percent of the households. Almost 68.5 percent of the households use firewood as a main source of energy for cooking.
Those who use charcoal make 25.7 percent, 2.4 percent use Kerosene, 1.7 percent use electricity, Gas/Industrial (0.9 percent), Biogas (0.04 percent) while the rest minor percentage use Coal, Animal residuals, Solar energy and Generator.
However, 58.2 percent of the region’s households use Kerosene as the main source of energy for lighting. Torch/Rechargeable lamps (14.5 percent), Electricity (21.3 percent), Acetylene lamp (2.7 percent), Firewood (2 percent), Solar energy (1.4 percent), Candles (1.3 percent) while Generator and Biogas used by 0.3 percent of the households.
The Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Census for the Agricultural Year 2019/20 by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that Tanzania had 33,928,391 Cattle as of August 2020 from 21,400,889 in 2007/08. It has 24,568, 396 Goats that rose from 15,178,315 Goats in 200/08. During the corresponding periods, Tanzania had kept 8,516,990 Sheep from 5,734,158.
In the agricultural year 2019/20, a total of 3.13 billion liters of cow’s milk was produced in the country, of which 3.11 billion liters (99.4 percent) were produced by smallholder farmers and 17.8 million liters (0.6 percent) from large farms.
In terms of goat milk production, a total of 25.7 million liters were produced in the country, of which 25.6 million liters came from smallholder farmers and 12,515 liters from large farms.
Mbaraka Batenga, Kiteto District Commissioner said that as of February this year, the district has registered a total population of 500,000 Cattle, 480,000 Goats and 370,000 Sheep.
“My office has already identified specific areas for growing alternative grasses for grazing. These areas are Olengapa, Napalai, Alole and Kimbo found in different wards of the district. Discussions are ongoing between my office and the district Councilors Council to engage the private sector in programmes that will equip communities on good and sustainable land use practices,” said Batenga.
According to him, the district pastoralists have lost an estimated 25,000 cattle during the period of between September 2021 and early January this year.
“Such severe drought also occurred in 2017. We had through 2021 scrambled for water against wild animals from the Makame WMA. Villagers’ maize farms were invaded by Buffaloes and Elephants searching for something to eat,” said Maria Lucas (30) Makame village resident.
According to her, searching water for household had forced women to walk up to 40 kilometers going and back to fetch the utility in far villages.
“We had to spend not less than eight hours going long distances for water. It really affected our health and strength” adds Maria.
Deputy Minister of Livestock and Fisheries, Abdallah Ulega told this paper that the government has already provided 130billion/- since mid-January 2022 for construction of new water infrastructure and rehabilitation of old dams in Kiteto as one of its initiatives towards climate change effects mitigation.
He admitted that the 2021 prolonged drought has resulted in a big loss to pastoralists due to cattle deaths. For now, pastoralists plead to the government to allow them to use pastures in the buffer zone areas but the minister advises them to adopt sustainable ways of using pasture instead of decimating one area and moving to another.
“My advice to pastoralists across the country is that they should start planting warm-season grasses and consider saving some of that hay in case of drought. As we speak over 30,000 cattle are at risk of dying from drought;
However, I have instructed the Vikuge Pasture Seed Farm Institute in Kibaha district, Pwani region to extend its Juncao grass production technology countrywide by training pastoralists to ensure livestock feeds availability at these times when many parts of the world are hit by climate change effects leading to severe drought ,” he clarified.
Professor Lin Zhanxi of China’s Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University pioneered the technology in the 1980s, and it has since been shared with over 100 countries worldwide including Tanzania.
Jeremiah Wambura, National Chairman of Pastoralists said “Not only Kiteto pastoralists who suffered the drought fate, about 62,585 livestock have died in the neighboring district of Simanjiro”.
According to the weather report released by Tanzania Meteorological Authority (TMA) on March 3, 2022, Tanzania saw the highest temperatures last year. The report on the status of climate in the country for last year, shows that the average temperature was higher than the long-term average for all months.
“In 2021, there was above average temperature of 0.5 degrees Celsius, which is above the long-term mean temperatures recorded between 1981 and 2010,” reads the report.
The report notes that the year saw the country experience extreme weather events, mainly prolonged dry spells, strong winds and high temperatures, which significantly threatened livelihoods.
“The country was generally dry over most of the bimodal areas, especially during the October to December 2021 rainy season owing to insufficient rainfall observed over many parts of the country,” ut reads.
“A large number of the highest daily maximum temperatures exceeding 35 degrees Celsius occurred in November 2021 across different parts of the country,” the report said.
The TMA report states that drought started in October 2021 with November being the driest month in the year as it ranks it as the driest such month since 1970. In terms of annual rainfall records, 2021 emerged the fourth driest on record since 1970 after 2003 (first driest), 2012 (second driest) and 2005 (third driest).
In particular, November and December were the warmest months of the year, with November breaking the record in historical observational perspective and December the third warmest on record since 1970. However, TMA has not yet declared the drought to be over.
IT takes three hours for one to ply by a van from Kiteto Town District Council in Northern Tanzania to Makame located 110 kilometers away.
Stretching almost 331,171 acres of open woodland, shrub land, Makame is one of the 27 divisions that form Manyara region.
Makame is a division which is formed by five wards namely Irkuishbor, Katikati, Makame, Ndedo and Ngabolo. The whole division comprises 19 villages. Makame ward which also comprises of Makame village is the largest, covering 137,000 acres.
Rain had stopped since early April 2021thus put the semi-arid area into a severe drought that left ponds going dry. On top of it, the vegetation went dry leading to scarcity of grasses for grazing by livestock.
Dr Ashatu Kijaji.
Zanzibar President Dr Hussein Ali Mwinyi.
President of Association of gynaecologists and obstetricians of Tanzania (AGOTA), Dr Matilda Ngarina.
Municipal Executive Director, Jeshi Lupembe.
Nehemiah Mchechu.
Liberata Mulamula.
In Tanzania still about 70 to 80 per cent labour is absorbed in this sector. Agricultural progress permits the shift of manpower from agricultural to non-agricultural sector.
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