TANZANIA – Tanzania has reduced its meat imports by 63% from 1,401.96 tonnes to 516.63 tonnes within a period of one year on the back of the improving local industry.

This was majorly supported by various initiatives adopted by the government aimed at increasing local meat production and consumption, says Mr Geoffrey Sosthenes, Tanzania Meat Board (TMB) Registration Officer.

Besides imposing strict measures to control imports of livestock-related products and instead stimulate exports, he said that the authority has also committed to improve domestic investment environment with an aim of attracting more investors.

Mr Sosthenes noted that during the 2018/2019 period, the country spent US$3.9 million in the importation of livestock products.

According to the Minisry of Livetsock and Fisheries, Tanzania imports meat from different countries including Kenya, Dubai, South Africa, England and Belgium, reports Daily News.

The country’s local production during the period increased 1.6 percent to 690,629 tonnes.

Tanzania counts major investments in the sector reflected by various meat processing facilities in including Tanchoice meat processing factory in Coast Region that has the capacity to slaughter 100 cows and 4500 goats on daily basis.

In addition, the sector is also set to receive a boost from the ongoing construction of several meat processing factories at Longido, Morogoro, Chato and Ruvu.

The country also launched a meat production pilot project at Chobo Investment factory in Mwanza Region last year.

Mr Sosthenes however noted that despite a decline in meat imports, exports would increase after the completion of the meat processing factories.

He also noted that the TMB has also embarked on reinforcing measures to ensure hygiene and safety in the meat processing facilities as well as retail outlets.

Mr Sosthenes insisted that more emphasis should be put on the food safety systems in the sector since most of the meat outlets in the country operate under condition that are below standards.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Tanzania has 30.5 million cows, 18.9 million goats, 5.56 million sheep and 38.59 million chicken by 2016/17 counting among the leading countries with largest livestock population in Africa.

Data from the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries reveals that Tanzania is the second country in Africa with high in livestock numbers.