Diary farmers to benefit from new deal
Rwanda Development Bank (BRD) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources have signed a memorandum of understanding to support dairy farmers to import around 1,000 higher milk producing dairy cattle breeds in the first phase of the programme to modernise the sector.
The agreement is aimed at setting up a framework within which the modern cattle farming projects would be promoted through the importation of new breed exotic cows and bulls to make the country self sufficient in milk production.
According to the agriculture ministry officials, the cattle would be imported from South Africa and United Kingdom. For ten years, Rwanda has been importing dairy cows from Germany, whose cows produce lower milk quantity.
Dr Theogene Rutagwenda, the Director General of Livestock in MINAGRI, said the cows in the two countries have cows with higher milk production compared to those from Germany. One South African exotic cow produces an average of 30 litres per day whereas a German breed produces only 20 litres.
“Farmers want to have new blood and want to go for higher producing cows and hence this development will facilitate them be able to import those exotic cattle,” Rutagwenda said.
“If the farmers fully embrace the development, our country will be able to export milk,” he added. Rwanda partly imports milk from the neighbouring countries.
Farmers will receive a 50 percent grant from the ministry in form of transport and logistics whereas BRD would provide loans and train them on farming techniques.
Beneficiaries would nonetheless have to fulfil all the technical and financing conditions required for modern dairy farming projects.
Rutagwenda said the development would contribute a lot to the school milk feeding programme that is aimed at combating fight malnutrition through increased milk consumption.
BRD managing director, Jack Kayonga, told this paper that the bank will only support those already practicing dairy farmers.
“We can’t tell the specific amount allocated for this development. It will depend on the number of projects we will be receiving but mostly those who have been in business,” Kayonga said, adding that the already practicing dairy farmers are in better position to carefully look after the cows than those wishing to venture into the sector.
Government currently wants regular milk drinking days at the Umudugudu level through a culture of sharing milk and cows among neighbours under the One-Cow-Per-Family programme, commonly known as the Gir’inka.
According to information from MINAGRI, Rwanda currently produces over 1.8 million litres of milk a day which is still demanding compared to the country’s population of 11 million hence need for more milk production to fight malnutrition countrywide.
Contact email: fred.ndoli[at]newtimes.co.rw