TANZANIA – Tanzania is poised to become a major milk producer in the next three or four years, thanks to Artificial Insemination (AI) Shield technology that was launched in Dar es Salaam yesterday.
“We perceive this technology as a great liberator in animal breeding…we are looking forward to high conception rates and increased productivity,” Mbeya-based Animal Breeding Advisor, Lwitiko Mwakalukwa told the launching seminar in the city, decrying the existing conception rates of between 40 and 60 per cent.
Two American firms, Worthington Industries and Global Good, hosted the introductory seminar for the AI Shield technology that envisages revolutionising livestock breeding.
African Breeders Services TCM Managing Director Nathaniel Makoni described Tanzania as the first country to use the technology, which is also scheduled for launching in Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia.
Dr Makoni said the target is to reach 35,000 farmers in Iringa, Njombe and Mbeya regions, with over one million beneficiaries. Already, 75 new inseminators have been trained for the wide spreading of the technology.
“Through AI adoption, livestock breeding becomes easier and safer, the technology reduces the spread of venereal diseases in the farm stock,” Dr Makoni told the seminar participants, mostly officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Development, Veterinary doctors, scientists and other key stakeholders in the livestock and dairy industry.
Global Good Fund’s Manan Shukla said low conception rate was a serious problem that impedes artificial insemination in developing countries, including Tanzania, due to semen mishandling.
“Acrosomes are easily damaged when semen is mishandled… AI Shield, a canister in which the walls and base are lined with materials to absorb liquid nitrogen, provides additional insulation for the safety of the semen,” said Mr Shukla.
The Director of Arusha-based National Artificial Insemination Centre, Dr Paul Mollel, embraced the new technology, describing it as a breakthrough.
“We have been suffering huge losses in animal breeding due to mishandled insemination…this is a technological breakthrough and we will incorporate it into our teaching curriculum,” said the head of the centre.
The new technology entails collection of semen from the male and introducing it into the female reproductive tract using instruments. In livestock breeding, semen from superior and tested sires including bulls is collected and used for AI.
Many dairy farmers in East, South and West Africa have adopted AI technology to improve the quality and productivity of their dairy breeds but the technique rarely yields good conception rates due to poor control of the factors that affect conception.