The production and marketing of leaf meal from fodder shrubs in Tanga, Tanzania: a pro-poor enterprise for improving livestock productivity uri icon

abstract

  • This study assesses the production and marketing of Leucaena leucocephala leaf meal in the Tanga area of Tanzania, the only location in sub-Saharan Africa where leaf meal is widely marketed. Among the 5400 dairy farmers in the Tanga area, about 61%, 3290, use leaf meal to feed their stall-fed dairy cows or chickens. The other main actors in the market chain are producers, who gather leucaena leaves from the wild or from their farms and dry and crush them into leaf meal, and traders, who buy leaf meal and transport it to the mostly urban and peri-urban consumers. Following a rapid reconnaissance survey, questionnaire surveys were conducted with 28 consumers, 11 traders, and 10 producers. Leaf meal is a key component of dairy rations, as it provides crude digestible protein and metabolic energy at low cost. Retail prices fluctuate considerably, primarily because supplies are reduced during the rainy season, when it is difficult to dry leaf meal and when many producers prefer to work on their farms. Marketing leaf meal is highly competitive, there are few barriers to entry, and returns appear to be relatively low. Proposals for expanding the industry and improving the livelihoods of producers, who are mostly poor women, and traders, who are mainly poor men, focus on improved technologies (improved drying and compressing techniques), institutional innovations (trader associations and expanded price information), and improved policies and extension strategies (exchanging information with Asian leaf meal producers and developing a cross-sectoral advocacy group to mobilize resources and support system improvements)

publication date

  • 2007