Research helps Tanzania’s dairy farmers produce more milk with lower emissions

January 4th, 2021

Ngairo and his dairy cow Mze, Mbeya region, Tanzania. Photo credit: Jeda Palmer.

Scientists believe they can unlock a 140% increase in dairy production in Tanzania while lowering greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 50%.

A new study successfully applied the environmental impact assessment model known as CLEANED to review sustainability metrics of different production systems and scenarios.

Researchers found that improving resource use efficiency could reduce emission intensity by 50% while helping farmers increase production by more than twofold and fill the gap between milk demand and domestic supply.

The authors stressed, however, that it will require considerable targeted effort to efficiently increase production level, including building the financial and managerial ability of farmers.

The study findings are good news for the Tanzania Livestock Master Plan (TLMP), an ambitious plan geared towards addressing major challenges facing the livestock sector and transforming it by guiding investments in major subsectors including interventions to comprehensively improve livestock breeding, feed and health while ensuring sustainable production.


  • CLEANED has been developed by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Stockholm Environmental Institute (SEI) and Australia’s national science agency (CSIRO), with initial funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock.
  • The CLEANED tool enables rapid environmental impact assessment of livestock production, providing useful guidance even when input data is scarce, and ensuring local buy-in by including stakeholder participation.
  • CLEANED estimates biomass, water and nutrient flows and assesses three dimensions of environmental impact: productive use of water, soil health and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • In East and North Africa and Central America, development organizations and universities have applied CLEANED to identify main drivers of environmental impacts and propose interventions to improve productivity and reduce livestock footprint.

Read the study: Notenbaert et al. (2020) Towards environmentally sound intensification pathways for dairy development in the Tanga region of Tanzania. Regional Environmental Change. 20, 138.