Current situation for antimicrobial use, antimicrobial resistance and antimicrobial residues in the food and agriculture sectors in Tanzania: A review

  • Y. M. G. Hounmanou
  • R. H. Mdegela
Keywords: Antimicrobial resistance, growth promotion, Livestock, food safety, Tanzania


Antimicrobials are used worldwide at sub-therapeutic levels as growth promoters in the agriculture sector. The global consumption of antimicrobials in food animal production was estimated at 63 151±1 560 tons in 2010 and is projected to rise by 67%, to 105 596 ±3,605 tons by 2030. Although limited reports describe the situation in Tanzania, the trend of antimicrobials use in the livestock sector is alarming in the country. In Tanzania, studies have indicated that there are rampant and indiscriminate uses of antibiotics in the Livestock sector fueled by trade liberalization. Antibiotics are openly sold on the streets in Tanzania and are distributed over the counters without prescriptions. Farmers in Tanzania do not observe withdrawal periods as recommended by government policies. Most Tanzanian poultry farmers (up to 90%) treat their chicken by themselves with antibiotics. Inappropriate use of antimicrobials for growth promotion and treatment in the animal sector in Tanzania has contributed significantly to the emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance in the livestock sector in this country. Methicillin- resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) were also reported in the livestock sector in Tanzania. Antibiotic residues are present at high levels in foods of animal origin in Tanzania. Antibiotic residues have also been detected in egg, chicken meat, ready-to-eat beef and milk samples from different regions in Tanzania. The use of antimicrobials as growth promoters should be terminated and One Health approach should be used to guide policy and effective use of antibiotics.

Keywords: Antimicrobial resistance; growth promotion; Livestock; food safety; Tanzania

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2714-206X
print ISSN: 0856-1451