Planning and costing agriculture's adaptation in Tanzania: Pastoral livestock system (extensive livestock)

Submitted by Jillian Dyszynski | published 16th Nov 2011 | last updated 10th Feb 2020

Summary of country findings: Tanzania

This study is one of 5 country studies (Bangladesh, Malawi, Nepal, Rwanda and Tanzania) exploring planning and costing agriculture's adaptation to climate change.  The system described was pastoral livestock, complimented by associated agricultural enterprise in maize, lablab (type of bean), cowpeas, sorghum and millet production. 

Background:

In Tanzania the agriculture sector accounts for 27% of GDP and provides a livelihood to over 80% of the population (ASDP, 2006).  Of this, the livestock sector accounts for around a third of agricultural GDP, with pastoral and agro-pastoral livestock systems producing almost ¾ of the milk and meat consumed in the country (Njombe and Msanga, 2010).  Additionally the sub-sector plays an extremely important cultural role for those involved, with owning cattle considered a key way to store wealth.  Despite this, few studies of climate change adaptation in agriculture have focused on the livestock sector, in Tanzania or elsewhere.

The vast majority of Tanzania’s livestock are held in the traditional extensive systems of pastoralism and agro-pastoralism (see Box), which respectively accounting for 14% and 80% of the country’s indigenous cattle (MALD, 2006).

 Forms of Pastoralism

Pastoralism:   System of husbandry where livestock graze on unfenced rangelands. Owners are either nomadic, having no fixed abode but move from place to place in search of pasture, or transhumant, moving between fixed points over the year to make use of seasonal pastures.

Agro-pastoralism:  Mixed system of agriculture combining husbandry where livestock graze on crop-residues and agro-processing by-products, in addition to grazing the rangelands combined with cultivation of crops to complement livestock production. Owners are more sedentary than under a pastoralist system.

These systems are heavily concentrated in the drier northern areas of the country, such as Morogoro, Kilimanjaro and Dodoma regions where this study focused, and where the key feature of the environment is its constant inter-annual and inter-decadal variability.  They employ a number of strategies (see Table) that mean they are flexible enough to cope with highly variable conditions, and in particular periodic droughts, that make settled crop agriculture unreliable.

Categories of action 

Category

Examples

Managing herd mobility to take advantage of spatial differences in resources

 

Managing herd numbers to better match herd size to available resources

 

Managing herd quality to make better use of available resources and make the herd healthier, more productive and more resilient to shocks

 

Managing environmental factors to increase availability and reliability of accessible water and pasture

 

Diversification away from pastoralism to reduce livelihood dependence on the system

Temporary/permanent migration, herd splitting, land use planning

 

Selling or buying animals, destocking or restocking herds

 

Dipping to reduce parasites and disease, use of vet services, changing herd species/breed composition

 

Building watering points, reseeding pasture, altering burning regime (?)

 

 

Adopting higher levels of crop based agriculture or non agricultural activities

 

As well as facing pressures from population growth and a general lack of government support, including land use planning that restricts herd mobility, local climate projections suggest extensive livestock systems will be subject to increasing climatic stresses and shocks over the next few decades.  In particular water scarcity is expected to become more severe due to a lengthened dry season and increasing average temperatures.  This is likely to exacerbate the effects of climate shocks already experienced by pastoralists who perceive droughts to account for around 75% of climate shocks. 

Droughts affect pastoralist systems through several vectors, including lack of available water for animals and reduced production of pasture.  These effects result in loss of condition of livestock lowering fertility and making animals more vulnerable to disease, and hence higher mortality and morbidity.  Furthermore reduced productivity of rangelands during droughts often results in overgrazing and degradation of rangeland.  Overgrazing causes rangeland ecosystems to change, by encouraging annual grasses and woody perennial scrub instead of perennial grasses, which lowers the productivity and carrying capacity of the rangeland in the long term.  There are also further feedbacks on the rangeland system through reduced infiltration of rainwater, increased moisture evaporation and increased soil erosion.

Many actions that allow pastoralist systems to adapt to climate change are extensions of actions they already take place to cope with existing climate variability (see Table).  It should be noted however that there will be limits to the ability of these adaptation actions to cope to more extreme magnitudes of climate change.  At certain extremes of potential climate change the nature of adaptation strategies may have to change (Smith et al, 2010).

Coping with climate variability

Pastoralist action

Form of diversification or risk spreading

Temporary or permanent migration

The ability to move herds from areas where pasture is sparse to where it is more abundant is central to pastoralist systems.

 

Keeping different types of livestock

Cattle, goats and sheep respond differently to environmental pressures.  Keeping a mix of livestock types is a form of diversification

 

Partitioning herds

Splits herds into core and satellite herds which are kept in different areas

 

Maintaining Female-dominated herd structure

This offsets long calving intervals and stabilises milk production through….

 

Reducing herd size by selling animals to prevent herds exceeding the carrying capacity of the rangeland

 

Restocking from fellow pastoralists

Following a shock such as a flood or drought pastoralists restock their herds, often exchanging animals with other pastoralists

 

 

Spatial diversification

 

 

 

Species diversification

 

 

 

Spatial diversification

 

 

Keeping spare/buffer  resource

Keeping spare/buffer  resource

 

 

Diversification through trade 

The study focused on three pastoralist communities. Pastoralists were questioned as to which coping strategies they currently use when experiencing climate shocks.  They were also asked which measure they thought they could implement to adapt to climate change in the longer term. Preferences amongst pastoralists for different available coping strategies and adaptation measures varied markedly between different groups (Table).  There is strong correlation between the strategies groups have traditionally used to cope with climate variability and preferences for future adaptation options, demonstrating the importance of development and adaptation policy taking account of local differences in pastoralist practice and culture, as well as education and awareness raising to introduce new ideas to communities.

Climate Shock Coping Strategies: Preferences by group

 

Mvomero

Same

Chamwino

 

n=44

n=72

n=61

Migration/relocation

54.5

26.4

8.2

Sale of animals

38.6

51.4

44.3

Relief food from Govt./NGOs

4.5

12.5

19.7

Remittance

2.3

1.4

11.5

Community help

0.0

5.6

1.6

Others

0.0

2.8

14.8

Through questionnaires and workshops, potential adaptation responses were ranked by the pastoralists.  In addition education and supplying information to pastoralists was identified as a key component of successful adaptation.  From these exercises a number of adaptation options were established for costing. The below table shows the prioritized local adaptation strategies.

Adaptation Strategy: Preferences by community group

 

Mvomero

Same

Chamwino

Total

 

n=43

n=35

n=35

n=113

Destocking/harvesting

9.3

20.0

60.0

28.3

Migration

34.9

2.8

2.9

15.1

Diversification beyond the pastoral enterprises

9.3

20.0

17.0

15.0

Restocking/keep more animals

14.0

17.2

5.7

12.4

Collective actions on pasture and water

7.0

22.8

2.9

10.6

Invest in own water points

18.6

2.8

2.9

8.9

Other adaptation actions

6.9

14.4

8.6

9.7

These adaptation strategies were then put through a filter to combine local, district and national adaptation priorities, resulting in the following short list of adaptation strategies that were used as the basis for costing adaptation for this agricultural system. 

Migration; temporary and permanent: The research team attempted to break down the costs to pastoralists of moving herds to better pastures.  Costs of the movement itself included hiring of trucks for young animals, hiring of labour to assist with trekking the herd, deaths of animals in transit and the opportunity cost of not milking.  In addition there were costs involved with settling families in the new area and gaining permissions from existing populations. Permanent migration entails reduced costs of movement (the herd only moves one way) but increased costs of settlement

Watering points: One way of ensuring a reliable water supply for herds is to build reservoirs to store rainwater and/or dig boreholes to access groundwater sources.  The study estimated the costs of constructing such water infrastructure assuming 5000 livestock for 3 villages and infrastructure costing of 1 dam, 3 charco dams and 3 boreholes.  Included in this signature was building cattle dips to increase herd health and resilience.

Land use planning: Land use planning revisions are required to re-demarcate land for pastoralist uses, and entails costs both in the revision and the implementation of the plan.

Research and training: Knowledge transfer regarding climate change and available adaptation options was thought to be an important component of successful adaptation by the research team.  This was envisaged to involve increasing the capacity of pastoralists, extension agents, researchers and policy makers.  Costs involve both the ongoing direct costs of extension services and the investment costs to expand the capacity of extension services so that these services can be provided to all who need them by 2030.

Early Warning System: A national system using seasonal rainfall forecasts to predict the state of pasture and available water would assist in herd management and migration planning.  The government of Tanzania offered an estimate of the cost of setting up this system to be $180,000 (US) with running costs of 30% of capital cost per annum.  The research team considers this estimate to be a gross underestimate with four times this amount being a more reasonable estimate of probable cost.

Adaptation options and costs

Costs of adaptation in Tanzania - Development deficit and adaptation costs for now, 2020 and 2030 in million US$.

Planning scale

Actions

Sub-actions

Time scales

Now

y2020

y2030

National

Early warning system

Early warning system

Short term

0.4

3.2

4.8

Extension training

EW++ - basic training

Medium term

1.2

11.1

20.8

District

Watering points

Watering points - Investment

Medium term

60.7

563.1

1,053.1

Watering points - R & M

Long term

12.1

112,6

210.6

Dips

Dip system - Investment

Medium term

5.1

46.9

87.8

Dip system - R & M

Long term

1.4

12.9

24.1

Land-use plans

Village land-use plans

Short term

3.4

31.8

59.5

Village land management plans

Medium term

3.4

31.8

59.5

Livestock farmers

Migration

Temporary migration

Short term

84.4

793.2

1,504.5

Permanent migration

Long term

9.1

84.1

157.2

District

Training

Training: crop agriculture+

Medium term

51.9

487.9

925.3

Training: diversification

Long term

31.2

292.7

555.2

National

Training

Training: EW++ - climate change

Short term

1.3

11.9

22.2

Training: policymakers - climate change

Short term

0.1

0.6

1.1

Research

Livestock research

Long term

17.6

181.2

311.6

Total

283.3

2670.4

4,997.3

+crop agriculture, semi-intensification

 ++Extension workers

R & M = repair and maintenance

National Institutional Arrangements

Efficient implementation of adaptation in the pastoral system requires a robust institutional set-up. Functional linkages and hierarchies need to be well coordinated to guide adaptation actions across line sector ministries. Governance of livestock and crop sectors has experienced repeated restructuring in the past three decades. The two sectors used to be under one ministry but are now under two different ministries: the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, and the Ministry of Livestock Development and Fisheries (MLDP), which deals with the livestock sector at national scale including policy, planning, research and training. The decentralisation policy has also brought into play the Ministry of Local Government, which is responsible for extension activities in both crop and animal agriculture. This has further complicated the coordination of actions in the two sectors. Agro-pastoralists, who comprise the majority of farmers in the country, operate their farms as one entity.

Given the inseparability of the sectors at the grassroots level, the multiplicity of adaptation stakeholders, and the complexities around climate change adaptation, the efficacy of the current institutional set-up remains contentious. Uncoordinated and parallel efforts may be of little help to the agro-pastoral communities.

The Ministry of Environment has a full minister but is under the office of the Vice President. At the moment, climate change issues are handled by the Assistant Director of Environment. This section negotiates climate change funds for the country, and in some cases coordinates funds for climate change activities.

The actual amount allocated to the pastoral system has increased significantly over the past few years, however the proportion of the budget allocated to pastoralism remains at about 1-2 per cent of the total livestock budget. Since the pastoral system accounts for about 14 per cent of the cattle in Tanzania, the amount of money allocated to the system was 13 per cent, 10 per cent and 10 per cent of its ‘expected’ allocation for 2007/08, 2008/09 and 2009/10 respectively. This indicates that only small proportion of the budget is allocated to the pastoral system.

 

National Study Team

Content produced by:  Tumbo, S., Mutabazi, K., Kimambo, A. and Rwehumbiza, F. 2011. “Costing and planning of adaptation to climate change in animal agriculture in Tanzania.”