Investments in poultry industry have been hailed for a considerable contribution to increment in Rwanda’s overall meat production, which went up by 30,000 tonnes last year.
According to statistics from Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB), meat production increased to 116,000 tonnes from 86,000 last year.
Speaking to The New Times, RAB’s head of animal resources Christine Kanyandekwe said the growth in the country’s meat production was mainly attributed to the recent investments in the poultry sector, especially in the last two years, whereby many investors have been embracing the growing sector.
“We have had many investors in poultry; there is a growing number of large scale farmers who rear between 10,000 and 20,000 chickens. In fact, there has been progress in involvement of the private sector investors in poultry,” she said, adding that investment in piggery also increased.
Dr Fabrice Ndayisenga, the director of animal production at RAB, said poultry accounted for about 30 per cent of about 30,000 tonnes of the total meat production in 2016 – including beef, chicken, pork, goat meat, and sheep.
“We want to increase chicken largely through increased investments in broilers,” he said, adding that the growing small stock – poultry and piggery be essential for the national meat production.
In November, last year, RAB announced that a Rwf1-billion poultry and livestock project to support jobless youths and other needy Rwandans would be rolled out this year.
The project is expected to see 4,000 pigs, 2,000 goats and 32,000 chicken distributed among target groups.
Speaking to The New Times, Themba Mashinini, the managing director of Easy Hatch Ltd, a poultry hatchery based in Musanze District, said the firm produces more than 80,000 chicks per month.
Easy Hatch plans to boost their capacity to 100,000 chicks per month within the next two months.
Mashinini said the company supplies chicks to farmers in all provinces, including Bugesera District-based Poultry East Africa (PEAL), the biggest poultry producer in the country.
A fully grown chicken can weigh up to five kilogrammes depending on how a farmer has taken care of it.
Mashinini said they provide farmers with feeding regimen and guidance on how the chicks are supposed to be handled.
“We are growing steadily to make sure that Rwanda becomes very self-sufficient when it comes to poultry meat,” he said.
However, chick production in the country is still short of meeting demand. Figures from RAB show that Rwanda imports 50,000 day-old chicks per month.
Shumei Lam, the managing director at Poultry East Africa Ltd (PEAL) told The New Times that the firm invested about $3 million in its Bugesera poultry farm and its operations started in December 2014.
He said that the company produces between 9.500 and 10,000 chickens translating to between 15 and 20 tonnes of meat per week that it supplies to the Rwandan market.
“We are now looking to develop export market,” Lam said.
Intensive beef production
Lam said the Gako beef project, through feedlots on over five-hectare farm located in Bugesera, will have intensive system for raising cows and goats for meat production at a large scale in the country.
Rwanda targets to produce 230,000 tonnes of meat by 2018.
Recent figures from RAB show that there were about 1.3 million cows, five million chicken and one million pigs in the country in 2016.