Opportunities and constraints for overcoming dry season livestock feed shortages in communal semi-arid rangelands of Northern Tanzania: a case of Longido district

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Livestock Research for Rural Development


Assessment of opportunities and constraints for tackling the problem of dry seasons livestock feed shortage (DSLFS) was conducted in Longido district, Arusha, Tanzania in March 2014. The rationale for conducting this study was to contribute to a better understanding of the influential factors for persistence of DSLFS problem in Tanzania communal semi-arid rangelands. In addition, the study aimed to identify the potential opportunities for curbing DSLFS problem in Longido district and elsewhere. Data collection methods included structured questionnaires for household surveys, checklists for key informants interviewing and researcher's field observations. A total of 90 respondents were randomly selected and interviewed from four (4) pastoral villages namely Kiserian, Mairowa, Ngoswak and Tingatinga. Data were analyzed by using SPSS 20 computer program. Major drivers for pasture inadequacy were prolonged droughts (27%), increased crop cultivation in rangelands (21%) and high stocking rates (18.3%). The time cattle spent for grazing during dry and wet seasons differed significantly (P=0.03). The time range livestock spent for grazing was 7-8 hrs and 10-12 hrs, in the wet and dry seasons respectively. The distance the livestock walked to pasture differed significantly (P<0.01) between wet (1-4 Km) and dry (8-14 Km) seasons. The time livestock spent walking to and fro watering points differed significantly between wet and dry seasons (P<0.01), the time range being less than 0.5 hr and up to 11 hrs respectively. Identified opportunities for overcoming the DSLFS problem include plentiful communal grazing land (32.1%), abundant browse resources (21.1%) and existence of strong traditional leadership (17.3%). Major constraints for overcoming the DSLFS problem were low and erratic rainfalls (26.1%), fear of free riders due to communal grazing (23.17%) and low awareness on range management due to inadequate extension services (20.7%). It is concluded that livestock feed shortage is a big problem in Longido district especially from August to November in which animal productivity declines due to sparse pasture and water resources. It is recommended that conservation of indigenous fodder trees should be undertaken due to their importance in providing feed resources at critical drought times. Moreover, livestock policies should promote range management through education provision, securing land tenure of communal grazing areas for fostering rotational grazing, selective bush control and range reseeding.



Drought, Indigenous fodder trees, Maasai, Pasture inadequacy


Maleko D D and Koipapi M L 2015: Opportunities and constraints for overcoming dry season livestock feed shortages in communal semi-arid rangelands of Northern Tanzania: A case of Longido District. Livestock Research for Rural Development. Volume 27, Article #70.