Veterinarians are lobbying for Artificial Insemination (AI) Centre in the country, saying that it can enable effective capacity building of veterinarians in Artificial Insemination services which will boost livestock production.
The call was made yesterday at the end of a two week training of trainers in bovine artificial insemination technique in Kigali. It covered areas including anatomy and the fertility of cows.
The centre will also contribute to increased cow conception rate through AI in the country, which on average, stands at between 39 and 40 per cent, according to Rwanda Council of Veterinary Doctors (RCVD).
10 veterinaries from all four provinces of the country, who benefited from the training, now have a task to have trained 200 others by June this year, according to their representative, Jacques Ndagijimana.
RCVD said that in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) through Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB), have identified gaps in cattle breeding in Rwanda where the AI is not reaching dairy farmers as it should as there is delay and lack of skills for some practitioners.
According to the Council, the 10 senior trainers in Bovine AI technique who have also been equipped with AI kits, will contribute in a sustainable way to training of inseminators in the country.
that the main issue affecting farmers is lacking proximal AI services because the inseminators are still few and some lack required skills.
“There are only schools which teach veterinary in general. Until now, it is only Rwanda Agriculture board (RAB) which has been training people how to carry out Artificial Insemination,” Ndagijimana said.
“The school we need can be for all interested veterinarians. All veterinarians do not know how to carry out artificial insemination, it is a specialization. That is why when senators were in Rusizi [District], they were surprised to see a sector veterinarian who was unable to carry it out,” he said.
“In the government programme, teaching and continuous training is a priority. If the government considers it necessary to set up a school so as to get many instructors [in AI], it can be set up,” said Dr. François Xavier Rusanganwa, chairperson of RCVD.
Artificial insemination is credited for genetic improvement in cattle, which results in increased productivity both in milk and meat.
However, Engineer Martinus Aarts, an Emeritus embryo transfer at veterinary school in New Zeeland, now an expert at PUM Netherlands Senior Experts, who offered the training, said that artificial insemination should be coupled with other good farming practices including farm management and proper feeding so as to ensure enhanced productivity.
He said that average milk produce per cow in Holland is 95,000 kilogrammes per year, while it is about 2,000 kilogrammes in Rwanda.
According to RAB, some improved cow breeds can each produce between 25 and 30 liters of milk per day, but some local cows only give five liters or less. The average milk production per cow in Rwanda is eight litres per day.
Figures from MINAGRI show that there is a cattle population of about 1.4 million in the country of which 54 per cent are cross breeds, 40 per cent locally bred and 6 per cent pure breeds.
The veterinary council says it has about 2,000 registered veterinarians, so far.
According to figures from the Council, a livestock farmer pays Rwf1,500 for ordinary semen (one insemination), while it is Rwf15,000 for sexed semen - which gives the farmer 92 percent likelihood for their cow to give birth to a heifer.