RUBAVU— The government will soon construct a milk processing plant in Nyabihu district.
This was disclosed by the Minister of State for Industry, Vincent Karega, during a recent visit to Gishwati where he met Mayors of Rubavu, Ngororero, Nyabihu and Rutsiro, districts.
The meeting that was attended by farmers from the area, was meant to discuss ways of helping livestock farmers in Gishwati access markets for their increasing milk production.
The dairy plant to be constructed in Mukamira Sector is meant to improve the living standards of livestock farmers by bringing the market nearer.
It will buy milk from various milk centres which will be constructed in various areas in Gishwati.
“Gishwati is one of the areas in the country with a high production of milk. It has gone as far as 100,000 litres per day and is expected to double due to the government’s Girinka policy,” explained Karega.
Asked how long the construction would take, Karega said it would take less than two years once started.
The plant is estimated to process more than 200,000 litres of milk daily.
He called upon farmers to join cooperative unions which will be fully controlling the small milk collection centres.
“We want farmers to fully participate in this project by working in cooperative unions. Active cooperatives will be given a chance to buy shares in this milk industry and the government will also help them access loans from Rural Development Banks at very low interest rates,” he said.
Rubavu District Mayor, Celestin Twagirayezu, said that district authorities will help in constructing small road networks linking farmers to the milk centres.
“I call upon my fellow mayors from the four districts that share Gishwati to put building of these roads in their performance contracts because they will help buyers to easily collect milk from farmers,” he said.
Farmers who spoke to The New Times said they were optimistic the industry will greatly improve their incomes from milk.
“We have been cheated before by buyers from towns such as Ruhengeri, Gisenyi and Kigali who have always bought our milk cheaply at Frw100 per litre yet they sell it expensively at Frw200 in towns,” said Fred Nzabandora a livestock farmer.