ILRI and partners launch climate-friendly project to strengthen dairy farming in Tanzania
- Gloriana Ndibalema
The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in collaboration with Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and the Tanzania Livestock Research Institute (TALIRI) launched the EnviroCow project in Moshi, Kilimanjaro Region of Tanzania, on 20 February 2023. The project, which targets Tanzania and Ethiopia, will generate data on smallholder dairy farms’ contribution to methane emissions and use the information to help farmers cope with the challenges of climate change (greenhouse gas emissions) and improve productivity.
About 40 livestock stakeholders from public, private and international institutions attended the launch of the three-year project officiated by Tanzania’s Livestock and Fisheries permanent secretary, Tixon Nzunda. In his remarks, Nzunda urged government officials and authorities to support researchers during the implementation of the project for the benefit of the farmers.
‘We should reduce bureaucracy for the effective implementation of the research and development components of EnviroCow,’ he said. ‘On the other hand, the researchers should focus on the needs of smallholder farmers not the desires of a few intellectuals. The research results should be simple enough for farmers and non-experts to understand, thus easing adoption and scaling at all levels.’
Raphael Mrode, the principal scientist from ILRI and a professor of Animal Genetics and Breeding at SRUC, presented an overview of the EnviroCow project, which is designed to develop climate mitigation strategies by examining the emissions of methane gas from dairy cows in Africa and their adaptive capacity. The project will contribute to the mitigation of climate change through the use of recommended feeds that have lower greenhouse gas emissions but are cost effective.
‘By working together, we have the opportunity to publish the initial smallholder enviro-dairy cow index by 2025 on the journey to improving efficiency and productivity with less impact on the environment. In the two-year period, the researchers will gather data on the methane emissions produced by approximately 700 cows from up to 425 smallholder dairy farms in Tanzania and Ethiopia,’ Mrode explained.
On behalf of ILRI, Mrode and Amos Omore, the institute’s country representative in Tanzania, handed over two laser methane detectors (LMDs) worth approximately USD 24,000 to the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries. LMD is modern technology designed to measure the amount of methane in the air.
In Tanzania, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded project will be led by SRUC and implemented by ILRI in collaboration with TALIRI. It will be based in the Kilimanjaro and Arusha regions. Its work is aligned with that of the Africa Asia Dairy Genetic Gains (AADGG) project, which is also implemented by ILRI and partner institutions in Tanzania and Ethiopia.
Read more about EnviroCow: https://www.ilri.org/research/projects/envirocow-reducing-feed-costs-and-ghg-emission-smallholder-dairy-cattle-ssa