Rwanda has developed a five-year livestock masterplan with hope that it will revamp the sector, increase farmers' incomes and boost food and nutritional security.
The masterplan, officials said, will lower the price of livestock products through incentives to farmers.
To be effectively implemented, the plan needs $310 million (Rwf257.7 billion) with the biggest fraction expected to come from private sector investments.
According to the plan, private sector investment will account for 52 per cent of the total cost while public sector spending will account for 48 per cent.
The investment is expected to result into 663,000 tonnes of meat production every year, 2.2 billion litres of milk and 1.9 billion eggs, which would substantially increase food supply, critically needed to cater for the country’s growing population.
The Rwanda Livestock Master Plan, which runs 2017/2018 until 2021/2022 fiscal year, was prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) in collaboration with the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
The Director General of Livestock at MINAGRI, Dr Theogene Rutagwenda, told Business Times that private investments will be especially in value addition and processing of livestock products.
“This contribution of will help the citizens get jobs but more importantly availability of animal products to the population, increase food security and reduce malnutrition,” Rutagwenda said.
Specifically, the plan targets to raise pig meat production from 19,945 tonnes annually to 67,076 tonnes by 2022, an increase of 239 per cent.
This is expected to be achieved through improving the family mixed pig system and expanded commercial specialised piglet fattening.
Jean Claude Shirimpumu, a farmer and the Chairperson of the Rwanda Pig Farmers’ Association, told Business Times that achieving such production target requires effective approaches.
He says that pig meat has proven to be easy to produce than other livestock meat such as goat, which requires big piece of land to grow pasture, adding that the demand for pork is rising.
“There is need to avail new and highly productive pig breeds, proper feeding as well as farm management skills,” he said, warning that without people having such requirements the target cannot be attained.
Overall, the GDP contribution of the total pig meat production could increase from Rwf21 billion to Rwf66 billion in the next five years, an increase of 214 per cent.
In addition, there’s projected improvement of the number of sows per farm, which will increase from the current 1 to 6. The number of fattened piglets in the commercial specialised pig fattening subsystem is estimated to grow to 266,251.
Increasing milk production
In the period under review the strategic plan projects increase in national cow milk production from 816 million litres per year to 1.2 billion litres.
The projections are premised on the hope that interventions aimed at increasing the number of crossbred and pure exotic cows which produce more milk than local breeds.
Artificial insemination and oestrus synchronisation, combined with improved feed and health interventions, value addition and complementary policy changes are expected to be rolled out.
Rwanda has an estimated 799,000 crossbreed dairy cattle. The number is projected to rise to 1.17 million, according to the strategy.
By improving primary production and the processing and marketing of dairy products, the plan set out strategies to substitute imported milk products and/or used domestically for new or additional industrial uses (such as in the baking industry), or exported as milk powder, Ultra-high temperature processing (UHT), among other forms in order to raise foreign exchange earnings.
Overall, revenues from milk sector are expected to increase from Rwf113 billion in 2016/17 to Rwf163 billion, a 53 per cent increase.
The Chairman of Rwanda National Dairy Farmers’ Federation, Gahiga Gashumba, said that the strategy should address issues of concern affecting farmers such as lack of water for cows’ consumption especially during dry spells, setting up infrastructures to ease the transportation of milk in rural areas, and enhancing livestock extension services by increasing the number of veterinarians.
“Water scarcity is the main issue in Eastern Province where there are many cows, yet the region is prone to drought,” Gashumba said, calling for investments to ensure availability and affordability of quality animal feeds so as to increase productivity.
The total chicken meat is projected to increase from 15,715 tonnes 35,170 tonnes in the period under review, reflecting an increase of 124 per cent increase.
The total egg production from the family and commercial specialised systems will increase from 244 million to 513 million, according to the plan.
Based on this plan, the total GDP contribution of the SP chicken system (broilers and layers) will increase from Rwf11.4 billion to 25.9 billion.