Farming in tsetse controlled areas of Eastern Africa - Kagera FITCA Kagera.
African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources
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Kagera region lies in the northwestern corner of Tanzania and is bordering Uganda in the north, Rwanda and Burundi in the west and Kigoma, Shinyanga and Mwanza regions in the south. Lake Victoria is the natural eastern border. The total area of land surface 28,500 square km is subdivided into five districts, Bukoba (with Bukoba town, the administrative and commercial center with 45,000 inhabitants), Karagwe, Muleba, Biharamulo and Ngara. The region consists of a number of ridges and plateaus, separated by valleys, most of which are swampy. The altitude varies between 1128m and 1646m. Annual rainfall averages between 1,000 mm and 1,500mm, although some areas receive up to 2,000mm while others receive less than 500mm of rain in some years. 20,000 square km is suitable for agriculture. The region has a population of over 2 million people (2002 figures). Over 80% of the people depend on agriculture for their livelihood. Average holding size is 1.08 hectors. The regional economy heavily depends on agriculture and animal production. Major food crops are bananas, cassava, maize, sweet potatoes and beans (also functioning as a cash crop). In most areas, the dominant farming system is the integrated banana coffee complex. Productivity is low. Major causes include pests, low soil fertility. Approximately 23,000 households are engaged in livestock keeping. The livestock population consists of approximately 374,000 heads of cattle; 369,000 goats; 52,000 sheep; 6,600 pigs and 444,000 poultry. Within the livestock sector, different subsystems can be distinguished. n The cattle/crops subsystem, in which banana/ coffee farmers keep cattle. The farmers main interest is the manure production for more/better crop farm productivity. However in Southern part of the region, in Biharamulo district cotton is grown and cattle here have an additional function in providing draught power for the cotton cultivation. n Semi-nomadic cattle keepers are mainly found in the northwestern Karagwe district, sometimes migrating with their cattle to the bordering areas in Uganda. They have larger numbers of animals per household. As they are not involved in crop production, manure is of less importance to them, and that they are more interested with milk for their subsistence. n Specialized dairying was started and developed by the closed Dutch funded program in 2000 (Kagera Livestock development project = KALIDEP). Currently the region has about 9000 small holder dairy farmers with a total of over 15,000 dairy animals. The demand for dairy animals is very high in the region. There is definitely a great need to further expand and improve the dairy industry in the region. n The fourth and last livestock farming system is the commercial ranches, which occupies 179,491 hectors of land in the central part of the region. The four commercial ranches have a total of slightly over 18,000 cattle.