Increased investment in poultry farming is beginning to pay dividends with the sector contributing greatly to the country’s total meat output last year.
Figures from Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) indicate that meat output rose to 116,000 tonnes, from 86,000 in 2016 largely driven by a rise in poultry production.
The poultry industry added 30 per cent of this. RAB attributes the rise in poultry production to increased investments into the sector over the past two years. The country produces beef, chicken, pork, goat meat, mutton, among others.
However, we cannot rest on our laurels just yet as demand for quality meat still outstrips supply particularly with the recent ban on importation of poultry products from Uganda and Europe.
The good news is that more firms are venturing into poultry farming which will boost production and help narrow the demand gap in future as well as reduce meat imports.
Under the domestic market recapturing strategy, the country seeks to increase production in sectors, like industry and agriculture, which can help reduce the growing trade imbalance.
In addition, the Rwf1 billion poultry and livestock project by RAB that will see 4,000 pigs, 2,000 goats and 32,000 chickens distributed to selected beneficiaries should also bolster livestock production and enable the country to satisfy demand.
The initiative will play a critical role in the realisation of the targeted 230,000 tonnes of meat to be produced by 2018.
However, issues of quality and cold facilities along the value chain need to be addressed to make the sector more competitive to attract top buyers and investors.
Also players need to develop their capacities to ensure sustainable supply. This way, farmers will be assured of ready market and profitable earnings.