Tanzania is endowed with abundant natural resources, which include land, forage and a large livestock resource base. Out of the total 94 million hectares of land resource, 60 million hectares are rangelands utilized for grazing 18.5 million cattle; 13.1 million goats and 3.6 million sheep. Other livestock kept in the country include 1.2 million pigs, 30 million indigenous poultry and other species (MWLD, Statistical Year Book, 2005). The country has the third largest cattle population in Africa after Ethiopia and Sudan. Over 90% of the livestock population is of indigenous types, which are known for their low genetic potential.

These animals are however, well adapted to harsh environmental conditions and have high resistance to diseases.The livestock industry can be categorized into two major production systems namely extensive and intensive. The intensive system, though limited in size, has been receiving more emphasis in investment and improvement because of its contribution to the market oriented economy.

On the other hand, the extensive system, which is mostly agro-pastoralism and pastoralism, is a production system based on seasonal availability of forage and water thus resulting into uncontrolled mobility. This system is mostly constrained by poor animal husbandry practices, lack of modernization, accumulation of stock beyond the carrying capacity and lack of market orientation. Despite of the constraints this system has sustained the livelihood of the pastoral communities for many decades. In order to develop and achieve its goals, the industry requires a comprehensive livestock policy to guide all stakeholders. Since mid 1980’s, Tanzanian economy has been undergoing gradual and fundamental transformations towards a market-based economy. The macro-economic policy reforms have made necessary for a redefinition of the roles of the public and private sectors in livestock development. These changes have paved the way for the withdrawal of the Government involvement in direct production, processing and marketing activities, which could be better performed by the private sector.

This is the third policy document of the livestock industry. The first policy was launched in 1983 with the aim of stimulating livestock development in the centralised economy. Emphasis was on large-scale parastatal institutions for production, processing and marketing.

The Agricultural and Livestock Policy of 1997, which was the second policy to be formulated was in line with the ongoing reforms and redefined roles of public and private sectors.However, during implementation of this Policy other reforms emerged thus demanding for a review and formulation of a new policy. The new policy seeks to address specific key issues including animal identification, registration and traceability, animal welfare, indigenous technical knowledge, biotechnology and bio-safety, organic livestock farming, food safety, emerging diseases, livestock products regulatory institutions, professional regulatory institutions, animal genetic resource conservation, livestock stocking, veterinary laboratory system, livestock related disasters and pet animals.

The Policy aims at stimulating development in the livestock industry in order to increase rural and national income, improve food security and environmental conservation. More specifically, this policy endeavors to increase national well-being of all stakeholders involved in the Livestock Industry.