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Mt. Kilimanjaro Declining Snow Worries The President


Arusha — Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete has decried the country’s changing weather patterns that have resulted into among others the declining snow at Mt. Kilimanjaro.

He said in many parts of Tanzania, temperature has increased by about 0.2 to 0.6 degree centigrade for the past 30 years whose impact is evidenced by the fast decline of snow on Mount Kilimanjaro and the advent of malaria in high altitude temperate regions that were formerly malarias free.

Mount Kilimanjaro which is Africa’s highest peak attracts more than 35,000 annual climbers and the earnings from the total in-country tourists expenditure is averaged at around US$ 50 million (Tsh80 billion/-) per year.

According to the SNV-Overseas Development Institute (ODI) study, the Tsh80 billion/- generated by Mt Kilimanjaro per year, is also a significant economic input in a rural context.

The study found that 28 percent of the tourism earnings from Mt Kilimanjaro which is equivalent to over US$ 13 million or 20.8 billion/- is considered pro-poor expenditure, on that it goes straight into the pockets of local people there.

Funded by the Netherlands Development Organization (SNV), the ODI study concluded that it was the world’s highest and most successful transfer of resources from international tourists to poor people in the locality.However President Kikwete said the weather patterns have changed significantly, in Tanzania, making rainfall less predictable while droughts have become both frequent in occurrence and last longer compared to few years back.

“When rains come, they do so with vengeance causing floods with accompanying destruction of crops, properties and even lives,’ he said at the closing of a one week 14th session of the African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN) held at the Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC).

” Sea levels are rising at alarming pace and several parts of coastal regions are at risk of being sub-merged like the town of Pangani, there are already some parts that are now completely under sea as is the case of Mazwe Island near Pangani,” he said.

He attributed the environmental degradation threats to inappropriate human decisions and actions adding that developing countries particularly those in Sub-Saharan Africa are suffering the most for they lack the capacity to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change and environmental degradation.

“The majority of these countries are either poor or marginally above the poverty line, as a result they do not have adequate financial resources, technology and human skills to respond effectively to the challenges,” he added.

“It is important to note that, these countries contribute the least to the serious environment challenges threatening our planet, they contribute minimally to carbon emissions which are responsible for global warming,” he said.

He emphasized that those countries which contribute the most to global carbon emission should bear the biggest burden in the efforts to redress the situation.

“The principle of equitable but differentiated responsibility is both rational and justified, those who pollute more should shoulder a bigger burden of cleaning up and rehabilitating the environment, they also have a responsibility to those who suffer because of their actions and inaction,” he noted.

“Unfortunately, they are not doing enough, whereas they realise and accept responsibility they fall short of taking the right actions at the appropriate time,” he said adding that fortunately, these are countries with the financial resources, technology and skills to do it.

“The only thing that remains wanting on their part is political will. It is this deficit which has made global efforts fails to reach the desired outcomes,’ he said.


Source: allAfrica

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Tanzanian herders get free cows to cope with drought

By Kizito Makoye

ARUSHA, Tanzania (AlertNet) – As recurring drought afflicts much of East Africa’s drylands, the Tanzanian government is trying to save the livelihoods of traditional herders by giving them free animals.

The Cattle Replenishing Initiative aims to rebuild the stocks of herders who have lost thousands of cattle, goats, sheep and donkeys during the worst drought in the country’s history, which began in 2008. Many experts believe increasingly erratic rainfall is linked to climate change.

President Jakaya Kikwete asserts that, apart from helping herders replenish their lost animals, the multimillion-dollar project will introduce them to quality cattle breeds that are more profitable. Those promoted by the project are bigger and mature faster than traditional breeds. They also produce more milk and are better adapted to dry climates.

The effects of the drought are still fresh in the minds of most residents of Monduli district in the country’s northern Arusha region.

Emerging from his rudimentary hut made of thorn shrubs and dried mud, 67-year-old Laibong Ole Mideye welcomes the government’s initiative as a way of enabling his family to provide for themselves.

As father and grandfather to an extended family of 25, Ole Mideye is happy to be receiving 26 free cows after his cattle, goats and sheep perished.

“The cattle provided the best source of income and protein for the family, and because they all died, we had no alternative than to count on food aid from the government,” he says.

His family is one of more than 6,000 households set to benefit from the modern breeds of cows under the first phase of the government scheme, launched this year.


For the past three years, Loliondo, Longido and Simanjiro districts have experienced shorter-than-normal rainy seasons. The ravages of drought are still evident, with vultures hovering over animal carcasses.

Coping strategies pastoralists have used for centuries, such as moving livestock to better pasture, did not work for Monduli’s residents this time because of the length of the drought.   

Livestock contributes at least 30 percent of Tanzania’s agricultural GDP, according to data from the ministry of agriculture and food security. The country is estimated to have 21 million head of cattle, the largest number in Africa after Ethiopia and Sudan.

Government statistics show that Arusha lost more than 800,000 cows between 2008 and 2010.

The government initiative, which costs 12.9 billion Tanzanian shillings (about $8.2 million) per year, is eventually expected to reach nearly 370,000 people in Arusha’s Monduli, Longido and Ngorogoro districts who have been relying on food handouts.

But some experts see the programme as a political gesture, claiming it does not provide sustainable solutions to the growing problems herders face as they compete for dwindling supplies of water and pasture.

“I do not think giving free cows is the best way to help herders in this country, because (the cows) have always been susceptible to bad climate,” said Yefrey Mnyenzi, who runs Haki Ardhi, a nongovernmental organisation dealing with land issues.

“The best way is to have a sustainable policy to cushion them from drought whenever it happens,” he added.


Haji Semboja, an economist at the University of Dar es Salaam, said the government should run emergency livestock purchasing programmes to allow herders to sell their animals when drought makes it too risky to keep them.

“Buying livestock in drought situations relieves pressure on natural resources and strengthens the financial power of pastoralists,” said Semboja. The government should also consider enrolling pastoral communities in insurance schemes to limit their financial losses when livestock die in drought, he added.

Libona Maneno, a herder who is generally pleased with the government replenishing initiative, worries that bailing out pastoralists will not solve all their problems because drought is an ongoing challenge.

“Are they going to give us cows whenever drought hits?” Maneno asked, adding that the country’s ruling party has made many unfulfilled promises to deal with natural disasters.

But Helena Sukumai, who was among the first to receive new cattle, dismissed such thorny issues. “We are very grateful for this offer – we take it as a goodwill gesture by the government to its people,” she said.

Kizito Makoye is a journalist based in Dar es Salaam.

Source: AlertNet