An international poultry exhibition, due in Kigali tomorrow, will present an opportunity for farmers and dealers to get advanced technologies to maximise benefits from Rwanda’s growing poultry sector, actors have said.
Dubbed “Poultry Africa Expo 2017,” the two-day exhibition will be concurrently held with a leadership conference at Kigali Convention Centre.
In an interview with The New Times, Dr Théogène Rutagwenda, the director-general for animal resources at the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI), said more than 80 companies from Americas, Europe, Asia, and the region registered to participate in the expo.
Exhibitors will showcase various technologies throughout the whole poultry value chain.
The event will feature seminars where best practices on breeding and hatching, animal (poultry) health and nutrition, farm management as well as animal welfare will be shared.
Rutagwenda said participants at the leadership conference will include industry experts, researchers, and academia.
Topics to be discussed include avian flu, poultry welfare, trade opportunities for Africa, optimal feed supply and feed production, marketing outlook and profitable farm management.
He said that about 1,500 people are expected to attend this high-level forum.
Jean-Baptiste Musabyimana, the managing director of Agribusiness Solutions Ltd, a company owning a poultry farm and feed production unit in Bugesera District’s Mayange Sector, told The New Times that Rwanda’s poultry sector has become attractive due to its growth prospects.
However, Musabyimana said insufficient skilled workers and scarce drugs remain some of the biggest challenges for large-scale poultry farmers.
Jean-Claude Ruzibiza, the chairperson of Rwanda Poultry Farmers’ Association, said the knowledge acquired from the conference would be vital to further advance and increase poultry productivity and efficiency.
State of Rwanda’s poultry sector
Rutagwenda cited accessing day-old chicks as a major challenge affecting Rwanda’s poultry sector.
Currently, chicks are mainly imported from Europe, and other African countries.
Some local companies have invested in hatcheries and are producing the day-old chicks and they come in handy, he said.
In August 2016, Government leased, for 25 years, its Rwf2.3 billion Rubirizi National Hatchery to Flow Equity, a US firm, at Rwf750 million. The firm will operate under the name of Uzima Chicken Ltd.
It will have capacity to produce 200,000 day-old chicks per month, up from 10,000 that were being produced before the Government privatised it, according to information from MINAGRI.
Rutagwenda said the hatchery will start availing chicks this month.
He also said that EasyHatch, a hatchery in Musanze District, also produces day-old chicks.
By January, EasyHatch was producing more than 80,000 day-old chicks,.
Rwanda’s poultry sector is largely driven by the private sector, according to Rutagwenda.
According to Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB), egg production per year in Rwanda stands at over 7,317 tonnes, and there are over five million chickens.
Rwanda imports about 50,000 day-old chicks and 100 tonnes of eggs per month.
But Ruzibiza is optimistic about Rwanda’s prospects of self-sufficiency in poultry sector in the near future.