TANZANIA – Stakeholders in the dairy sector have called on learning institutions to develop courses to ensure sufficient training that will provide the sector with professionally qualified dairy technologists.

Tanzania, despite the tremendous growth in the dairy sector, has to rely on dairy technologists sourced from the neighbourhood, including Kenya since it does not offer dairy technologist courses locally.

This in the long run has weighed heavily on the development of the dairy sector, affected by high costs of production due to imported manpower.

“There are no colleges or universities producing dairy technologists anywhere in the country, and this have an adverse effect on the quality of our services,” said Fuad Abri, director of the Asas Group of Companies milk processors.

As a result, the government, Tanzania Dairy Board (TDB) in collaboration with other authorities is in the process of developing a specific curriculum that will see dairy technology courses being taught at the local universities.

According to Dr. Mayasa Simba, marketing manager TDB, the courses which were in the past offered in a few colleges were later stopped after the factories suspended operations but will now be offered from certificate to higher education levels.

Milk processors on the other hand were called upon to speak up on the kind of dairy technologists they’d like to employ.

Tanzania is embarking on dairy production given its potential in the sector.

The country has a population of 28.4 million cattle but only 3% of these are used in milk production, according to Charles Tizeba, the former Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries.

To utilize this golden chance and join the highest milk producing countries in Africa such as Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa and Sudan, Tanzania is adopting strategies to increase milk production countrywide.

These include reviving state-owned dairy farms and establish cattle breeding centres in the regions.

According to TDB, the country produces 2.2 billion litres of milk per year and with a projected higher number of cattle by the year 2021/2022, milk production is likely to increase to 3.8 billion litres per year.

There is an existing potential to expand the dairy sector in Africa rather than depend on importation of dairy products.

Africa is said to possess five times more dairy cows than the US (49million vs. 9million), but among the top producers, only two (Ethiopia and Kenya) are self-sufficient, report UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

In Tanzania, demand for fresh milk is increasing affected by liberalization of markets, increase in price of milk and changes in consumer preference.

However, the dairy industry seems to be lagging behind despite of a rapid increase in the number of small scale milk producers and expanding demand for milk in Tanzania.