4. April 2022

Mitigating the spread of antimicrobials and resistant microbes through treatment of manure


Region: Africa Sector: Enviroment Country: Tanzania Project type: Demonstration project Country partners: Tanzanian Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), Zanzibar Livestock Research Institute (ZALIRI), Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, Natural Resources and Livestock, Zanzibar Timescale: 1 May 2022 - 30 April 2025 ICARS funding: 564,699.53 USD


In April 2017 Tanzania launched the National Action Plan (NAP) to guide mitigation strategies in line with the Global Action Plan on AMR using the One Health Approach. There is currently high usage of antimicrobials in livestock in Tanzania, for example between 2010 and 2017 consumption of antimicrobials in livestock reached approximately 12.2 million tonnes (Kimera et al., 2020; Mdegela et al., 2021; Sangeda et al., 2021). In animal sector, the highest consumption of antimicrobials is in short-cycle food producing animals, in particular poultry, which are reared commercially under intensive production systems.

Tanzania’s NAP contains ten action packages as a roadmap in combating AMR in the country (NAP-AMR, 2017-2022). There has been an intervention implementation gap in action packages that primarily address the root cause of AMR in agriculture, particularly in poultry production. Therefore, this project aims to help address that gap.


While intensive poultry farming is on the rise to meet the increased demand for animal derived protein and income, there is a parallel increase in use of antimicrobials for prevention and control of diseases. Furthermore, in Tanzania there is an increased demand of organically farmed produce, which largely depend on organic rather than inorganic fertilizers. Evidence suggests that only a small portion (10-30%) of orally administered antimicrobials are utilised, leaving the majority (70-90%)to be excreted in manure as parent or metabolized compounds.

Poultry manure is a desirable fertiliser and is used in crop production, aquaculture, and other food production, which could lead to increased environmental contamination with antimicrobial residues and antimicrobial resistant pathogens and genes across the food chain.

“The remedy for AMR challenges requires a One Health approach to ensure the health and wellbeing of humans, animals, and the environment. The use of simple manure treating technologies provide an opportunity of using safe poultry manure for safe food” – Alexander Mzula & Professor Robinson Mdegela, Sokoine University of Agriculture

Project overview

This project theorises that adaption of simple and cost-effective poultry manure processing technologies and processes can reduce the spread of antimicrobials in the environment, by intercepting the transmission cycle in humans, animals and the environment. Poultry manure processing interventions are limited in Tanzania. This project therefore seeks to find a composting solution that can be practically implemented to curb the spread of, and environmental contamination with antimicrobial residues, resistant microbes and genes emanating from commercial poultry manure.

This will be achieved through the below objectives:

  1. To establish the knowledge, attitude, and practices (KAP) of commercial poultry manure farmers/processors on current use of poultry manure and associated potential food safety risks.
  2. To strengthen existing regulatory frameworks that support increased uptake of processed and safe use of manure from commercial poultry farms.
  3. To optimize poultry manure processing technology for mitigating antimicrobial residues and bacterial antimicrobial resistance.
  4. To build a business case for value added poultry manure from farm to end users and propose means for commercialization and guidance for up-scaling past the project period.
  5. To build capacity through training and disseminate project findings to relevant stakeholders using knowledge translation approach.
  6. To evaluate the impact of the developed manure processing technology on employment/income, manure quality and value and reduced antimicrobial resistant contamination.

This project will take place in small and medium sized commercial poultry farms in Tanzania.


This project intends to introduce manure processing technology that will aid in treating manure in Tanzania, leading to safer fertiliser for organic and non-organic products, and ultimately safer food products. It is expected to have an added benefit of creating employment opportunities for small businesses for manure composting and fertiliser sales. Outcomes from this project are intended to inform and lead to revision of national policies with recommendations regarding the safe use of poultry manure in short cycle horticultural crops in urban and peri-urban areas of Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar.

This project will assess together with private companies how different ways of composting poultry manure can reduce antimicrobial residues and resistant microorganisms. Treated and quality manure fertilizer is in demand for farmers producing high value crops, and in particular, organic farmers” – Professor Anders Dalsgaard, Senior Scientific Advisor, ICARS