Sunday, December 5, 2010

A good move to revive cattle dips in Mara region

Netherlands development organization (SNV) conducted the workshops with dairy sector stakeholders in Mara region in order to stimulate discussions on challenges facing dairy sector and come up with some practical ways for improving its contribution to the income of the farmer as well as to the national economy.  The workshops investigated a couple of challenges facing the the livestock sector. One of the challenges was high mortality rate of cattle caused by  tick born diseases.
From the workshops, it was learnt that the government is spending billions of money for acaricide subsidy,repairing and construction of new dips  but these efforts are not fruitful.
The mapping was conducted in two phases in 2009/2010 where in  phase I all dips in Musoma district were visited and in Phase II a sample of  three dips were visited in districts of Serengeti,Rorya,Tarime and Bunda.
The mapping involved interview, focus group discussion and site observations.The interview and discussion involved livestock keepers, dip groups, dip committees,councilors,village and ward executive officers, extension workers, dip supervisors, district veterinary officers, District Agriculture and livestock Development officers and  district executive officers.
The findings were:
  • Cattle dips  status in Mara region
Cattle dip Situation
Good condition and operating
Good condition but non operating
Bad condition

Construction in progress

  • Reasons for low  dipping response as follows:
1. Low involvement of the community
Livestock keepers responded  that, there was low involvement of the community in the issues concerning with the cattle dips. Example, there were no time to time meeting to discuss about dipping. Cattle dips is not critical agenda during the circulars of the villages’ council. Due to the lack of special agenda for the cattle dips, the bylaws of the livestock are not well known at the level of Livestock keepers, councilors and to the ward and village executive officers.
2. Poor mixing of the acaricide
The study team revealed that, the procedures for acaricide mixing were not good at all, in many cattle dips the acaricide mixing exercise was done by the group members or the committee members  who are illiterate; as results the acaricide are not able to kill the ticks. Few cattle dips like Rubanda (Serengeti) and Matongo(Tarime) ,Community animal health  workers(CAHWs) have been appointed to mix acaricide.
3 . Uncertainity of  dips operation  sustainability
Many Livestock keepers had big doubt on dipping due to uncertainity of the cattle dip sustainability; since many cattle dips seem to operate for the short period of time and therefore the cattle  loose the natural immunity  after being out of dipping services causing tick born disease outbreak.
4. Limited dipping timetable
Some of the committees  and groups have  poor dipping timetables. These time tables do not meet the need of the livestock keepers. For example Kyankoma dip(Musoma) , the need for dipping is very high but in the dipping days  the attention/priority is given for the group members who also own  big  size herd. During the dipping day, some of the livestock keepers took their cattle to dip at 4:00 AM and they get the dipping service at 12:00 noon and therefore, they spend long  time on this exercise and wast their time for attending other development activities. This situation discourages  livestock keepers to continue with dipping.
5. Lack of passable ways for livestock 
In some of the areas there are no passable ways for the livestock to the dips due to the presence of farms and settlements. Thus, this led to many difficulties to the livestock keepers to take their livestock to the  dips; and some try to take them via roads which cause roads destruction and accidents. For example the Mgango(Musoma) , Nyanduga (Rorya) and Kowak(Rorya).
6. Corruption/Misuse of fund
Some of  dips leaders have been involved themselves in the corruption and misuse of fund as the result; they failed  to buy the acaricide for the cattle dipping. For example the group which managed Bitaraguru dip (Bunda) was stop due to mismanagement of funds. Cattle dips of Robanda (Serengeti) and Biatika (Musoma) are no longer in operation for the same reasons.
7. Lack of affirmative action from the district  councils
The team found that, there were no constant support or/ follow ups from the district council on the dipping matters. The district leaders have left all responsibilities in hands of the committee and the groups as the result, these committee/groups have no access to technical advices from the district councils’ experts.For example many dips have been constructed/ repaired by the community and  DASIP  then  handed over to the  groups/committees with expectation that district councils will  continue to give  technical support to dip users.
8. Lack of awareness and enforcement of Veterinary Act and bylaws
The team investigated that, there was no bylaws and Veterinary Act at all levels. Extension officers, ward and village executive officers  failed to present the copies of these bylaws and general Act. The team expected that, the availability/accessibility of bylaws copies would not be the issues as these are prepared by the cattle dips users themselves.Veterinary Act of Animal Disease is not enforced as the result livestock keepers do not abid with it.
The followings are the recommendations based on opinions from different stakeholders for cattle dipping revival:
1.Close supervision  of  district councils to the committee/groups
Veterinary experts/professionals should work hand to hand with the committee/groups for technical support whenever required. This will increase the efficiency among the cattle dips managers. Cattle dips agenda should be given a priority at all levels from the village, wards to the district. The district councils should do at their best to improve dipping status of dips in good condition rather than investing on new cattle dips.
2. Enforcement of Animal Disease Control Act and bylaws.
The district councils should educate the livestock keepers on the importance of dipping and where possible enforce the law for those who are not abiding with it.
3. Reviewing the cattle dips Policy
There is a great need for the review of the Privatization Policy; in order that some of the services to be provided by the Government. The management of the cattle dips should done/facilitated by the Government as it used to be before. Livestock tax and duties should be re-introduced for buying acaricide. The livestock keepers found it difficult to pay money whenever they take their livestock to the dipping.

4. Training  cattle dips committees,groups and attendants
The groups/committees are not well prepared to manage cattle dips. For example they have no entrepreneurship skills, therefore; they should be trained on it in order to make them capable to run the cattle dips in both ways as service and business oriented. The rates on the dipping cost should be participatory and discussed by all livestock keepers; this will help to clear the doubts generated among the livestock keepers that the groups/committees get a big profit due to the subsidized acaricide.
5. Acaricide testing
Cattle dips attendants do fail to know the strength of the acaricide in the cattle dip. The addition of acaricide is only determined by number of cattle dipped. Additional to that there is a need to have the laboratory for testing the quality of acaricide in the cattle dips
6. Employing  highly qualified and experienced contractors.
The district councils has to make sure that, do employ the qualified and experienced contractors for dip construction or repair .The monitoring of construction should  be done at every stage involving also  external personnel.
Environmental factor should be taken before construction of dips to avoid contamination/pollution of acaricide to water sources for  animal  uses.

Prepared by
 Dr.Theophil Kayombo

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