By Dr Seamus Murphy
The Tanzania Livestock Modernization Initiative, which took place in Dar es Salaam this July, highlighted some of the ongoing debates in the country.
Members of the Livestock, Livelihoods and Health team participated in the event, including professors Sarah Cleaveland and Rudovick Kazwala, and post-docs Alicia Davis, Will de Glanville and myself. This workshop, which drew together international and national participants from public, private and academic sectors, culminated a week after it began at the Hyatt Regency Hotel with the launch of the Tanzanian Livestock Modernization Initiative being led by His Excellency President Dr Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete. The event was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and facilitated by the International Conservation Caucus Foundation, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and LLH partner, the Tanzanian Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development.
With pre-elections fever surrounding the week’s events, and with the country’s fiscal review approaching, there was added attention from local media and Ministry officials.
With ambitious directives, the Livestock workshop offered our team an opportunity to engage with key decision-makers in Tanzania, such as the Honourable Dr Titus Kamani, the Minister for Livestock and Fisheries Development who opened our research programme’s inception workshop last December, and Permanent Secretary Dr Yohanda Budeba, also from the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development. Representatives also attended from other state departments such as National Land Use and Planning, Tanzania Meat Board, Tanzania Dairy Board and the Tanzania Livestock Research Institute.
The event also offered the chance to link up with key researchers in livestock genetics, rangeland management, pastoral communities and veterinary services from a number of international and national research institutions such as ILRI, the World Bank Group, the Gates Foundation, SERAP Industries, World Organisation for Animal Health, International Fund for Agriculture Development, TAD Scientific, Sokoine University of Agriculture, University of Edinburgh, Imperial College London, Frankfurt Zoological Society and the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture.
As we plan forward in our Livestock, Livelihoods and Health research, the debates presented a number of important issues to consider. For example, what initiatives are already underway to deal with the rise in land conflicts between pastoralist, agro-pastoralists and wildlife; what institutional networks do these initiatives plan to engage with; and how are these conflicts represented in policy debates?
In the context of a rapidly expanding market, what development strategies do government bodies consider for the red-meat value chain, and how will these measures impact on the transactional chains of urban, peri-urban and rural livestock traders?
With respect to veterinary services, how do we ensure that veterinary services are responsive to the demands of the emerging livestock sector, for example in terms of food safety and livestock disease control, and how can services best be delivered? More specifically, what roles are being considered in the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development’s One Health System and how will the Ministry move further with these plans?
Importantly, the workshop also provided our team with some understanding of how to engage with policy-makers in the livestock sector, as well as offering insights as to where our research might be best heard.
Dr Seamus Murphy is a post-doctoral researcher with LLH.