Girinka programme transforming people’s lives, says Minister Kalibata
The Minister for Agriculture and Animal Resources, Dr. Agnes Kalibata, said the cattle-stocking programme, commonly known as Girinka has significantly contributed to the social and economic development of the country.
The minister said this while addressing residents of Gatsibo District during the closing ceremony of Girinka Week in Eastern Province last Friday.
Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) held the Girinka Week in the Eastern Province in a bid to scale up the programme which targets giving cows to all poor households in the country.
The Eastern Province has the biggest number of cattle in the country.
Kalibata said the programme has brought tangible benefits to thousands of families, noting that diseases associated with poor feeding like Kwashiorkor have been contained.
“Girinka has provided milk for children, hence ending malnutrition. People have gone further to use by-products of the cows efficiently,” she said, adding that Girinka is one of the most successful programmes in the country.
The programme was launched in 2006 with the objective of purging malnutrition through taking milk, increasing household income mainly through sales of surplus milk and increasing crop productivity through usage of cow manure as fertilisers.
Kalibata said the week was meant to encourage citizens and other interested partners to join efforts to make all Rwandans benefit from this home-grown noble cause.
“Intra-family relations have been cemented through the programme. When a family passes a heifer to the other, their relations do not remain the same, a bond is created,” she said.
Dr Andrew Kagabo, the Girinka national coordinator, said the event, the first of its kind, was aimed at sharing the lessons learned so far and forging a way forward.
“We have to look back, see what went well and what failed and devise new strategies for the success of the programme,” he said.
During the week, at least 1,204 cows were given to vulnerable families in the Eastern Province. Of these, 123 cows were given to poor families in Rwamagana, 231 in Bugesera, 344 in Gatsibo, 104 in Nyagatare, 185 in Kirehe, 72 in Ngoma and 145 in Kayonza.
Poor beneficiaries were also assisted in building cowsheds.
Kagabo said the programme was prompted by severe household food insecurity that prevailed in the country in a range of 10-40 per cent, affecting 28 per cent of households.
He said the Girinka programme has significantly improved the lives of the beneficiaries.
“The programme has so far distributed over 180,547 cows to vulnerable families; which accounts for 51.6 per cent of the programme target by 2017,” Kagabo said, adding that the programme plans to donate at least 350,000 cows by 2017.
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