Due to a small population of improved dairy animals, the demand for milk in Tanzania currently outstrips available supply. In a bid to raise productivity, farmers have resorted to crossbreeding, which is unplanned and indiscriminate yielding animals of unknown breed composition. This mismatch of genotype and environment and the resultant interaction leads to depressed performance.This project seeks to determine the breed composition of dairy and indigenous cattle in 2 regions of Tanzania and associate these breed levels to milk production in-situ.



  A small number of households within each site will undergo detailed data collection of costs and quantities of input to allow for economic assessment of cost of production. Data collection will span 13 months from August 2014. All calves born within the study period (including 4 months before study start date) will be assessed for growth rate and health status for at least 1 year to determine survival and performance. Bulls with a potential of breeding with recruited cows will also be evaluated for breed composition and number of cows served. Attempts will be made to match bulls to offspring survival. In total, 1000 animals will be targeted for evaluation. Blood and hair samples of all animals recruited into the study (cows, calves and bulls) will be collected and bio banked. Breed composition will be determined using SNP markers obtained through genotyping by sequencing (GBS). The genotyping technologies will be sourced from the Beijing Genomic Institute (BGI), which has been on the forefront of innovations in gene sequencing.

Their expertise and innovation will allow breed composition to be determined using Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNP) obtained by genotyping by sequencing (GBS), and thus ensure proper characterization of the indigenous component of the breeds. In addition, herd and household production environments will be characterized and individual animal longitudinal performance data collected and associated with the breed composition so as to determine which breed combinations are most suitable for dairying in the study regions. Additionaly, the missing link in dairy technology use (or lack thereof) will be evaluated. The project is collaboration between the Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology, (NMAIST–Tanzania), the Scotland Rural university college (SRUC–UK), China Agricultural University (CAU–China) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI–Kenya).

Who Is

The Team

See who is a part of the Project team













Inception workshop

Preliminary Results

The preliminary outcome of the research has been compiled by our team into easy to understand visual tools. These aim to present the information in a quickly accessible format. Check them out here.

What's Happening



What’s in a Name anyway

In human societies, a name is a very important element of one’s being. It’s the key identifier of an individual, and a nameless individual would be considered either a pariah, a conman or lost! However, at the human relations level, the name has an even more profound function. It serves as the main handle through […]

The Milk story!

Dairy farmers are milking losses. This is mostly true for smallholder farms, with land holdings estimated at an average 2 acres, and herd size of 5 animals or less. Most of these farmers do not run their enterprises profitably, and dairying has somewhat become a way of life, something that they do. Still, farmers will […]

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