What ILRI does

ILRI’s mission is to improve food and nutritional security and to reduce poverty in developing countries through research for efficient, safe, and sustainable use of livestock — ensuring better lives through livestock.

The institute’s research for development agenda addresses the complex mix of challenges and opportunities faced by small- and medium-scale livestock operators who are currently providing most of the meat, milk, eggs as well as staple cereals across the diverse mixed and pastoral husbandry systems of Africa and Asia.

Such enterprises present multiple and synergistic opportunities to meet the rising demand for milk, meat and eggs; while simultaneously improving incomes, livelihoods and nutrition for poor households, strengthening adaptive capacity and resilience (especially to climate change) and alleviating the threats posted by livestock farming to human and environmental health.

Previous ILRI work

The ILRI Impact Book (2021) provides a review of the previous 46 years of the major achievements, lessons and impacts by ILRI and its predecessors (ILRAD and ILCA) in Tanzania and elsewhere. It includes science, capacity building and development impacts on productivity, vaccines, value chain upgrading, income, employment, nutrition, environment and One Health. https://

The livestock challenge in Tanzania

The livestock sector in Tanzania contributes about seven percent to the national GDP. This is considered low given the large numbers of livestock in the country – the second largest in Africa. Unlocking the productivity potential of this livestock could enhance its benefits to food and nutritional security and livelihoods.

The productivity challenge stems primarily from the decline in the natural resource base, characterized by limited availability of high-quality feeds and the seasonality of rainfall. Furthermore, there is limited access to essential inputs and services for breeding, disease management, credit and working capital and extension services. The absence of reliable markets for livestock and livestock products also discourages investments that could improve productivity.

The situation is further aggravated by the ongoing climate emergency, which is resulting in frequent and more severe droughts and unpredictable weather patterns. The increasing natural resource degradation and competition for land resources between farmers and livestock keepers require immediate attention. The climate crisis requires targeted innovations that leverage the socio-economic and market drivers while also addressing growing environmental and health effects associated with livestock agri-food systems.

Addressing the climate crisis requires targeted innovations that harness socio-economic and market drivers, all while addressing the mounting environmental and health impacts associated with livestock agri-food systems.

‘Our national policy for engaging with international organizations and civil societies is very good. As a government, we have also prioritized our partnership with the private sector, working together in livestock production to achieve the goals we set for ourselves.’

Abdallah Ulega
Minister, Livestock & Fisheries Ministry
in Tanzania

How is ILRI addressing these challenges

All areas of ILRI’s holistic livestock research for development programs are well covered in Tanzania including animal genetics, herd health, animal feeding, markets and inclusive value chain development, gender, nutrition, and sustainable livestock systems. In addition, ILRI is increasingly engaged in projects that are designed to scale out proven technologies and innovations, and advocate for more investments into the livestock sector. Highlights of ILRI-led research for development and advocacy include:

Livestock genetics including herd recording, molecular characterization and delivery of superior local genetics comprising genomically evaluated top local dairy bulls and genetics approaches to address climate change challenges.

Feed resource development with a focus on feed associated low carbon footprint such as improved climate smart Brachiaria forage with low greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Herd health approaches such as delivery mechanisms for productivity enhancing inputs and services, vaccine delivery and diagnostics.

Value chain development including market and food safety research that ensures poor consumers can access quality, safe, and nutritious dairy products at affordable prices, and smallholder farmers have reliable and consistent access to quality inputs and services, reliable, well-coordinated, and efficient dairy products marketing arrangements.

Catalysing digital extension for bundled provision of interdependent technologies comprising reproductive services herd-health management and animal nutrition with embedded advisories to small-scale producers to ensure inclusive and sustainable development smallholder livestock value chains. 

Advocacy to add impetus for investments to enhance the livestock sector’s contribution to economic growth.

These priority areas are closely aligned to the government’s agricultural development priorities in the main strategy for the agricultural sector – the Agricultural Sector Development Program Phase II (ASDP II). The objective of this plan is to transform the agricultural sector–including livestock–towards higher productivity, commercialization, farm income and improved livelihoods, food security and nutrition.

Current ILRI programs in Tanzania


Amos Omore

Amos Omore

ILRI regional representative, Eastern and Southern Africa

Anthony Whitbread

Anthony Whitbread

Program Leader, Sustainable Livestock Systems

Gloriana Ndibalema

Gloriana Ndibalema

Communication Officer



Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development, Tanzania

Tanzania Livestock Research Institute (TALIRI)


Sokoine University of Agriculture


Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC)

ILRI research in Tanzania is supported by CGIAR, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the governments of Australia, Ireland and the United States, United Kingdom, the European Union, the International Development Research Centre and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

ILRI research in Tanzania delivered in collaboration with key national research partners including Directorate of Research, Training & Extension, Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries (MLF), Tanzania Livestock Research Institute (TALIRI), Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), National Land-Use Planning Commission, Regional Secretariates and local authorities.

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