Socio-economic values and genetic diversity of indigenous cattle in Mara region, Tanzania

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Sokoine University of Agriculture


A field survey was carried out on Tarime zebu cattle (TZC) in Tarime district (Mara region) in order to describe farmers’ traditional knowledge practices of cattle preferences, productive, reproductive, breed-specific management constraints, desired policy interventions and phenotypic characteristics of TZC. Information from structured questionnaire of 120 farmers, twenty key informants, field measurements such as heart girth, height at withers and body length of 17 males, 23 castrates and 53 females were utilised to carry out an on-farm phenotypic characterisation and description of the breed. The majority of the farmers (86%) still prefer to keep TZC. Average age at first calving was 4.2 years. Average calving interval was 17.5 months and lactation length was 8.2 months. Farmers ranked with highest score draught power, dowry and the role of cattle in home consumed milk as the most important preferences of keeping TZC. The TZC breed is recognized by farmers to have adaptive resistance to diseases and parasites and ability to cope with feed shortages during the long dry periods are favourably rated by the majority of farmers. Farmers desired to have regular extension services (48%), reliable market for livestock and milk (28%) and veterinary services (22%) as well as improving of water sources through construction of dams and cattle dips (18%) to reduce water shortage and tick-borne diseases, respectively. TZC have an average body weight of 292kg, 249kg and 319 ± 36kg and average height at withers of 111cm, 107cm and 116cm for males, females and castrates. The heart girth, height at wither, body length and rump width predicted body2 weight with the highest accuracy (R 2 = 0.98) of statistical significance (p<0.05).The study concluded that the farming communities in the study area prefer their local and highly adapted cattle breed for their survival; and the breed trends (TZC) are attributed mainly to the decrease in grazing land and the increase in human population.



Farmers, Traditional knowledge, Cattle preferences, Tarime zebu cattle (TZC), Tarime district


Ngowi E.E(2007).Socio-economic values and genetic diversity of indigenous cattle in Mara region, Tanzania .Morogoro;Sokoine university of agriculture.