Agriculture is an important economic sector of the Zanzibar economy in terms of food production, employment generation, production of raw materials for industry, and generation of foreign exchange earnings. The agricultural sector produces about 30.8 percent of GDP (Economic Survey, 2009) and the contribution of livestock was estimated to be 4.5 percent.

In 2007, the Government of Tanzania launched the Agricultural Sample Census as an important part of the Poverty Monitoring Master plan which supports the production of statistics for advocacy of effective public policy, including poverty reduction, access to services, gender, as well as the standard production data normally collected in an agriculture census.  The 2007/08 Agricultural Sample Census was designed to meet the data needs of a wide range of users down to district level including policy makers at local, district, and  National levels, rural development agencies, funding institutions, researchers, NGOs, farmers’ organizations, etc.

The Livestock report provides detailed description of the state of the livestock sub-sector in Zanzibar for the agricultural year 2007/08.  The detailed tabulations and analysis were based mainly on smallholder farms.  In some cases, contribution of large scale farms is also included to give the overall Zanzibar estimates.

The main types of livestock and poultry covered in the 2007/08 Agricultural Sample Census are cattle, goats, sheep, pigs, chicken, ducks, turkeys, rabbits, and donkeys. There was an equivalent of 170,715 livestock units in total representing a total of 228, 538 major livestock of different species. The goat livestock units were about 13,794, sheep were about 114.8  and pigs about 1,005 units. Chicken were kept by 60% of the households, while cattle were kept by 30% of the agricultural households.

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