TALIRI strives for increased number of donkeys

EXPERTS at the Tanzania Livestock Research Institute (TALIRI) are implementing preliminary researches aimed at creating a professional platform, embarking on breeding program for increased number of donkeys within the country. The ongoing preliminary researches, dubbed ‘On Station Studies for Don- key’s Husbandry’ incorporates studies over phenotypic and genetic characterization of donkeys available in Tanzania.

In an interview to Business Times, Director of technology transfer division at TALIRI’ s headquarters, Dr. Jonas Kizima expressed that the program was gear- ing to improve on -station and on- farming donkey management in Tanzania.

He added that, implementation of the maiden research in the country was directives from the government, add- ed :”Since 2017, it appears there’ was a growing spate of illegal slaughtering
and stollen of donkeys in many parts of the county, the situation which was pushing for possible extinction of the non- conventional animals in Tanzania,”

Dr. Kizima added that, due to the poor situation, the government had tasked TALI- RI to draft and start implement vital strategies to improve ensure for professional management of donkeys in Tanzania. Being coordinated and per- formed at TALIRI’s Dodoma – based Kongwa center, he said the future focus of the on going research program was to start imparting pastoralists engaging in donkey keeping with useful practices on how to manage their animal professionally.

“The studies were undertaking pertaining phenotypic and genetic characterization of donkeys seek to establish behaviors of donkeys, including their natural production, fodders as well as their health management,” he Dr. Kizima expressed. Moreover, he expressed high optimisms that results of the researches will provide a gateway for the conduction of more wider donkey studies in Tanzania.

“For instance, in Tanzania donkey are often used to facilitate diverse domes- tic economic activities and not for human consumption, though in some other countries donkey are favorable meat for human consumption,” “In the future, if resources will allow we’re mulling also to investigate over potential health benefits of donkey meat for human consumption,”

“For years now, donkey have received little attention from researchers because conventionally they are viewed as hav- ing low status and study of their problems is consequently accorded low priority” he detailed. Apart from providing meat and labour power, donkey skins are used to produce gelatin that is traded as a traditional medicine and beauty products in Asia nations like China. By 2017, it was estimated that the number of working donkey was at least 250,000. In Tanzania, one of the most giant problem in promoting donkey is lack of knowledge about their socioeconomic status, husbandry and health needs. An estimated 39 million donkeys live in the develop- ing world, whereby 36 per- cent of the number is found in Africa including Tanzania.