Tanzania on Monday launched a national program aimed at changing traditional pastoral practices into modern methods of animal husbandry so as to raise productivity and improve living standards of pastoralists.

Speaking during the launch of the program in Tanzania’s northern region of Manyara, Minister for Livestock and Fisheries Luhaga Mpina said the program involves training of pastoral communities on a range of issues including laws that govern livestock sub-sector, how to mitigate conflicts with farmers and conservationists as well as modern methods of animal husbandry. The training would cover pastoralists and other communities depending largely on livestock for their livelihoods, Mpina said. The communities will also be introduced into how to wisely invest the wealth generated from the animals and related products into sectors other than animal husbandry.

“The program aims to make the communities use the money from their animals to build modern houses, educate their children, buy insurance policies for the animals and have savings in the banks,” Mpina said.

Introduction to laws governing the livestock sub-sector and agriculture in general is designed to eliminate the perennial conflicts, sometimes deadly, between cattle herders and farmers in the country, the minister said. Also on the program are how to select suitable and productive cattle breeds through breeding bulls or artificial insemination in order to transform from subsistence pastoralism to profitable modern animal farms.

The program will also include training on fighting animal diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease, peste des petits ruminants, contagious bovine pleuropneumonia, lumpy skin disease, contagious caprine pleuropneumonia, African swine fever, and Rift Valley fever.

According to the 2016 animal health strategy and vision for Tanzania, more than 85 percent of Tanzanians live in rural areas, out of which about 37 percent keep livestock. The livestock population is estimated at 23 million cattle, 7 million sheep, 16 million goats, 2 million pigs, and 59 million poultry. An estimated 88 percent of the livestock population is kept in small-holder traditional systems.

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