Skip to Main Navigation
FEATURE STORYJune 26, 2024

Tanzania Economic Update: Harnessing the Opportunity for a Climate-Smart and Competitive Livestock Sector in Tanzania


  • Tanzania possesses a cattle population of 36.6 million heads, representing 11% of the African total cattle population.
  • The livestock sector provides income-generating opportunities throughout the value chain, employing 33 percent of the population, or 4.6 million households.
  • Despite its crucial contribution to GDP and the potential to contribute even more with robust public investment, the livestock sector receives little public funding.

DAR ES SALAAM, June 2024— Tanzania's livestock sector plays a crucial role in providing livelihoods for millions of citizens, with considerable potential to also play a leading role in regional production and trade. The country’s cattle population of 36.6 million is the second largest in Africa after Ethiopia, representing 1.4% of the global cattle population and 11%of the African cattle population. Tanzania also has a large number of sheep, goats, chickens, and pigs, ranking it among the top ten on the continent in terms of overall livestock amounts.

Despite the sector's significance, the World Bank’s newly published 21st edition of the Tanzania Economic Update reveals that climate-related risks and insufficient public and private investment hinder its growth and international competitiveness. The report emphasizes the need for urgent public investment to capitalize on the rising domestic demand and the growing need for livestock products, while also aiming to expand exports.

The country's strategic location, with sea access and borders with seven countries, makes it well suited to meet regional and global demand for livestock products. Its diverse indigenous livestock breeds cater to various consumer preferences, domestically and internationally, and support the export of livestock genetics and biotechnology products. Integrating climate-smart livestock practices enhances this potential by improving resilience, reducing emissions, and ensuring long-term productivity and environmental sustainability.
Ernest Ruzindaza
World Bank Senior Agricultural Economist and co-author of the report.

In comparison to other countries in the region with equally large livestock populations, Tanzania's livestock sector makes a relatively small contribution to the country's GDP and agricultural GDP (AgGDP). In 2022, the livestock sector accounted for just 7.4% of GDP and 26.1% of AgGDP. This is lower than Ethiopia, where the livestock sector contributed 19% and 45% to GDP and AgGDP, respectively, and Kenya’s 12% and 40%.

The livestock sector is a crucial source of employment and income in Tanzania, especially for the poorest rural households. It provides income-generating opportunities throughout the value chain, from production to processing and marketing, employing 33% of the population, or 4.6 million households. Livestock sales contribute to 13.8% of rural household incomes, with the poorest rural households obtaining nearly 20% of their income from such sales. The livestock sector also contributes considerably to national objectives such as food and nutrition security, as well as gender equality.

Yet the sector is currently facing major challenges due to climate change, such as unpredictable rainfall and higher temperatures. These climate-related issues affect water and feed availability and worsen competition for resources and land degradation, especially in arid and semi-arid areas. They also interact with many economic and institutional factors in rural areas, making it harder to access important resources like land, water, and fodder.

Livestock diseases further constrain the sector, affecting animal health, productivity, and market access. Inadequate infrastructure and technical knowledge for water supply services, veterinary services, and market access make it difficult to manage diseases and integrate into the market, leading to many risks for livestock producers and traders. And despite making a crucial contribution to GDP, the livestock sector gets very little public funding, which makes it hard to invest in important things like research, extension services, and infrastructure.

Both globally and in Tanzania, the livestock sector is a major emitter of greenhouse gases, particularly methane, contributing significantly to climate change. Although the sector is crucial, funding for methane reduction is limited, and the sector's emissions create challenges for achieving climate goals while ensuring food security.

To set Tanzania's livestock sector on a path to sustainable development and economic contribution, the report authors recommend a public investment of $546 million between FY24 and FY29. This investment would represent a fivefold increase over previous budgets and a 50% increase from the 2023/24 budget.

“We believe this is feasible given the underfunding and high absorption capacity of the livestock sector,” said Emma Isinika Modamba, World Bank Senior Agricultural Economist and co-author. “While it contributes a substantial 7.4% to GDP, the sector receives a disproportionately low allocation of public resources. Between 2017/18 and 2021/22, public expenditures directed towards the sector amounted to just 0.03% of GDP.”

With such resources made available, the Update’s authors recommend a series of policies and investments to target productivity, trade and value addition, climate adaptation and mitigation, as well as sector governance. Specifically, they recommend:

  • Enhancing trade and value addition which would involve diversifying market opportunities, improving market linkages and transportation infrastructure, and implementing effective food safety regulations through a One Health Approach.
  • Prioritizing climate-smart practices, such as the implementation of climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies and renewable energy solutions, which is essential to mitigate climate risks and reduce the sector's carbon footprint.
  • Strengthening sector governance, improving institutional capacity, and adopting enabling policy reforms which are crucial to ensuring the effective implementation of climate-smart livestock practices and promoting competitiveness. An effective governance framework and appropriate incentive mechanisms are critical to ensure sustainable practices and greater private sector participation.


    loader image


    loader image