Plans are underway to facilitate schools integrate pork in school feeding programme as means to eradicate malnutrition, Olivier Kamana, Permanent Secretary at Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources has said. ALSO READ: Rwanda injects Rwf1.4bn in standardising pig slaughtering “We urge schools to start pig rearing projects to be able to afford pork,” he said. In 2019, the school feeding programme was implemented in secondary schools (public and government-aided) with 680,000 students receiving Government subsidy on school meals. Recent statistics indicate that primary and secondary schools increased from 2,877 in 2017 to 2,963. ALSO READ: Govt injects Rwf27bn towards school feeding Kamana said the plan to supply pork in schools is also in line with increasing meat production. The country seeks to reach safe and quality meat production of 215,000 tonnes per year in 2024 and 48 per cent of it is expected to be pork in the coming years. In 2021, Rwanda produced 185,989 tonnes of meat. Pig population has increased from 989,000 in 2012 to about 1.5 million in 2021. The country produces an estimated 23,000 tonnes of pork per year as of 2019 and targets to increase pork production to 68,000 tonnes by 2024. “We are working on a plan to use alternative sources of proteins to feed domestic animals instead of maize. This will help increase the number of pig farmers and pork production,” Kamana noted. He said that the government will soon establish a factory that will produce animal feed based on black soldier flies (BSF) larvae which is about 40 per cent cheaper than that with protein from other sources of animal feed. ALSO READ: Rwanda considers black soldier flies for protein-rich animal feed The larvae of these particular flies currently available in different countries including Rwanda, feed on organic waste, and convert part of it into biomass rich in protein and fat, while the remaining part becomes organic fertiliser for improved crop yields. Jean Claude Shirimpumu, a pig farmer and chairperson of the Rwanda Pig Farmers’ Association reiterated that while the pork market is promising, the production is still low. ALSO READ: Pig farmers eye regional market “There is a big market in school in addition to export markets such as DRC. This will motivate pig farmers to increase production,” he said. At least 10 public pig slaughterhouses and 15 collection centres have been constructed across the country to standardize pig slaughtering. Rwf1.4 billion has been invested in constructing the public pig slaughter houses in the Districts of Ruhango, Huye, Nyamagabe, Nyamasheke, Karongi, Rutsiro, Musanze, Burera, Gicumbi and Rulindo according to Rwanda Agricultural and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB). Epa Ngendahimana, a pig farmer, said that veterinary services for pigs also need improvement. Affordable animal feed, loans to farmers and fair prices are expected to motivate pig farmers, he said.