Despite Tanzania being among African countries that have large numbers of livestock, it is yet to tap the potential.

Tanzania is the third country in Africa in having a large number of cattle after Ethiopia and Sudan.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Tanzania had 25.8 million cattle by early October 2015. The problem is that regions which have larger numbers of livestock in the country have no many large meat processing plants.

As a result, herders do not benefit.

Five leading regions with their cattle numbers in brackets are Tabora (2.74 million), Manyara (2.16 million), Mwanza (2.08 million), Mara (1.88 million) and Shinyanga (1.88 million).

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Despite being rich in cattle, Tanzania is yet to meet its meat demand of 450,000 tonnes as its production is 350,000 tonnes annually.

NBS indicates that in December 2015, Tanzania had only four meat plants — three of them located in Arusha.

It named them as Arusha Meat, Happy Sausage Ltd and Kiliago Livestock Products Ltd, all based in Arusha.

Chobo Investment Company is based in Nyamagana, Mwanza.

Statistics indicate that Tanzania has 38 tanneries — eight of them located in Dar es Salaam. Seven others are in Kilimanjaro.

Manyara and Mara regions have four tanneries each while Morogoro and Ruvuma each had three.

Rukwa and Kagera regions have two each while Iringa, Kigoma, Mwanza and Coast regions have one tannery each.

Only 40 per cent of hides produced in the country is processed.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, 2.69 million hides were processed in 2015/16, far below the target.

Investment in milk processing is still low.

The Tanzania Dairy Board says only 43 million litres of milk are produced annually, down from the demand of 2.11 billion litres.