WELL-COW: Tackling tick-borne disease in smallholder dairy farms in Tanzania with low-cost animal sensing


GCRF AgriFood Africa Innovation Awards Round 2





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About the project

UK-registered Partner: SRUC – Dr Carol-Anne Duthie
Africa-registered Partner: Tanzanian Livestock Research Institute (TALIRI) – Zabron Cuthibert Nziku

Tick-borne disease (TBD) is a major economic, animal health and welfare concern across Sub-Saharan Africa. East Coast Fever alone is responsible for $300 million p.a. losses through direct and indirect routes. Current TBD control relies on expensive and often unreliable acaricide dipping. Early intervention is essential to limit impacts, particularly within smallholder dairies where mortality in expensive, high producing exotic breeds is significantly higher than indigenous breeds.

This project focussed on application of low-cost sensing for early disease-detection. Low-cost technological solutions will reduce losses (mortality/productivity), acaricide use, disease-spread, and reliance on veterinary-interventions, improving financial return for smallholders. Improved income and reduced disease incidence will contribute significantly to increased production, household income, national economy, and an overall improvement in rural livelihoods.

The aim of this feasibility project was to determine potential for low-cost sensing systems for disease detection, and to identify/demonstrate a robust route-to-market within Tanzania. We achieved this in two ways: Face-to-face surveys and focus groups (quantitative and qualitative information) with farmers across two agro-ecological zones in Tanzania, chosen for milk production potential, farmer organisations, milk collection, processing infrastructures and climatic differences.

Data collection covered farm/farmer demographics, smallholder dairying challenges, appetite for technological solutions and available infrastructure. In-person meetings with farmers, key stakeholders and businesses operating within the Tanzanian supply chain focussed on understanding Tanzanian dairying, understanding and identifying businesses operating in the value chain, and exploring routes-to-market (RTM). This feasibility study has provided useful outcomes and built relationships which can be utilised to form a larger research project.

Learn more about the project in this recording from our recent GCRF AgriFood Africa Project Showcase event.


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