As FFP Program In Tanzania Draws To A Close, The Council Looks Back On Successes

Building a new market for U.S. grains takes long-term planning, educating the community and consistent engagement. As the Council’s programs in Tanzania, supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Food for Progress Program (FFP) since 2014, come to a close, the building blocks they have put in place to benefit Tanzanian industry and consumers in the short term and build long-term grain demand are among the successes the Council can celebrate.

“We are incredibly pleased with the ways our work through our Food for Progress program has been able to build this market for the betterment of the poultry industry and consumers in Tanzania,” said Kurt Shultz, USGC senior director of global strategies.

“This work has been done in a way that will bolster long-term feed grain demand, especially in corn and DDGS, as the local poultry industry continues to grow.”

The Council’s work in Tanzania through the FFP program began with a handful of objectives: support capacity development of the Central Veterinary Laboratory (CVL); educate poultry producers about the advantages of quality feed and poultry production and management; work with regional poultry producer and feed manufacturer associations to advocate for industry growth; and increase the demand for poultry in the country.

Establishing The Lab

The first goal of breathing new life into the government-run CVL involved making physical improvements to the lab, ensuring it operates at full capacity, and developing a sound business plan to keep the lab operational beyond the lifespan of the FFP program. A critical element of this work was convincing feed industry professionals in the country to run consistent analyses because staff didn’t link this crucial step to the health of poultry consumers in the country.

“It was challenging to overcome this misunderstanding – that consumers eating poultry fed safe, quality feed translates to consumer confidence in the products they buy and can ultimately help sustain the industry,” said Katy Wyatt, manager of global strategies at the Council and the FFP project manager.

“Our constant engagement was the key to making the point that if there is a lack of feed analysis in any feed industry, you run the risk of feed being produced that does not meet the nutritional requirements of the animals destined for its consumption.”

Once fully operational, the Council hosted more than 15 training programs in the lab focusing on management practices, calibration and validation of the lab’s near-infrared spectroscopy machine – the only one in Tanzania at the start of this program – and mineralizer equipment and wet chemical and protein analyses.

As the Council’s FFP program in Tanzania comes to a close, nearly 2,000 poultry producers have attended poultry management trainings, of which more than 580 producers report they now only purchase quality feed. More than 180 of these producers have attended poultry trainings, sponsored by the Council, at the KwaZulu Natal Poultry Institute (KNZPI) in South Africa. These trainings build on attendees’ technical knowledge in a combination of intensive in-classroom seminars and practical hands-on training at the Institute’s on-site poultry farm. Following their return to Tanzania, more than 98 percent of participants have applied improved production techniques to their operations.

Producing Quality Feed To Spur Demand

Today, because of the Council’s engagement, an increasing number of feed manufacturers are prioritizing the importance of having their feed tested – especially in cases where they have made alterations to their feed formulations. The Council’s Tanzania-based consultants regularly follow-up with feed and poultry producers after training sessions to make suggestions for changes to feed formulations, which can then be tested by the CVL. Nearly 90 percent of the feed manufacturers who have attended Council-sponsored trainings have reported making adaptations to their feed formulation to improve the quality of feed they produce.

To expand and improve poultry production in Tanzania driven by consumer demand, local poultry trainings conducted by the Council have focused on poultry and egg production practices, feed quality and business applications. These training programs helped ensure poultry producers are well-equipped with the skills necessary to meet consumer demand – which is expected to significantly increase in Tanzania in the years to come. Improved production practices within the poultry industry as a result of this training helps ensure quality, reliable poultry meat is produced leading to growing consumer demand for local poultry products.

“Building consumer demand for poultry really is, to use the phrase, a chicken and egg proposition,” Wyatt said. “The work we’ve done together over the past five years will allow the Tanzanian poultry industry to produce more and consumers to trust their product, creating a virtuous cycle that benefits the whole economy.”

Building The Industry

Despite its potential, poor farm management practices and production techniques have plagued the Tanzania poultry industry, contributing to relevantly slow commercial growth within its sector. To address this, the Council placed heavy emphasis on improving the professional standards of the poultry industry in Tanzania by engaging with and developing regional poultry associations to determine specific production challenges and constraints producers are facing throughout the country.

USGC played an integral role in supporting local poultry and feed associations to unite under a single umbrella association, the Poultry Association of Tanzania, known as PAT.

An 11-member association, PAT represents the interests of those engaged all along the poultry value-chain, ranging from breeders to egg producers, as well as commercial feed manufacturers. The Association’s work is a vital part of ensuring the long-term sustainability of the Council’s work in Tanzania.

“In the United States and in many markets we’ve worked in over decades, the power of an organization’s industry that’s able to communicate with the government and the trade for the betterment of all involved is so evident,” Shultz said. “The Tanzanian industry has really showed how interested it is in growing through the energy we’ve seen for association building.”

As association members become invested in their industry’s development, they will quickly see the importance a unified umbrella association undertakes in promoting their sector’s development to their members – and more importantly to the Tanzanian government. The implementation of pro-development policies in Tanzania will ensure the industry is able to continue to grow steadily.

Going Forward

While the Council’s official work with the FFP program is in the evaluation stage and coming to an end in the next few months, the Council plans to continue its engagement in the market in new ways in 2019.

“The foundation built over the past five years will be nurtured by the Council and will hopefully be a springboard for larger regional engagement by it in East Africa,” Wyatt said. “The Council is particularly proud of the progress of the Tanzania program because it exemplifies its mission statement of building markets, enabling trade and improving lives.”

Click here to revisit the Tanzania program over the years on YouTube.