Girinka programme driving Rwanda’s ambitious target of zero hunger

Members of Parliament who attended the event; left-right, Clarisse Imaniriho, Marie Therese Murekatete, Christine Murebwayire and Marie Claire Uwumuremyi. Courtesy.

Since 2006 when President Paul Kagame inaugurated Girinka programme, 331,863 cows have so far been distributed to low-income families to transform their lives, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources.

The number includes 10 cows in gestation, which were donated to Kirehe families on Friday by Rwandans who live in Kenya.

It was part of the events to celebrate World Food Day under the theme; “Our actions are our future. A zero hunger world by 2030 is possible.”

 Geraldine Mukeshimana, the Minister for Agriculture and Animal Resources, said that Girinka programme has impacted the lives of many Rwandans.

A diplomat officially handing a cow to Hakizimana. Courtesy.

“We have a target to continue this programme so cows are given to all disadvantaged families,” she said.

“Government has rolled out substantial agricultural programmes for food security and fighting malnutrition,” she stated, highlighting Girinka programme as being top on the agenda.

Eradicating hunger [by 2030] is possible,” she added.

Mukeshimana explained that the prevailing security in the country was one of the reasons for the optimism to achieve zero hunger.

Climate change, she said, was one of the major obstacles to this effort.

Beneficiaries of Girinka are buoyant about its impact.

“I believe that this cow will lift me out of poverty,” said Emmanuel Hakizimana, one of the recipients from Rwabutazi Cell, Gatore Sector.

In addition to getting milk, he expects to get fertilisers to boost his crop yields.

Addressing malnutrition

“Malnutrition is still a concern for us,” the minister said, adding that from 2015 the stunting rate among children has dropped by two percentage points.

“In 2015, we were at 37 per cent, while this year, a recent study, found that stunted children are at 35 per cent,

“It means that we have to sustain efforts against stunted growth,” she said.

Leonille Uwamariya is a member of Tugaruke mu Nzira Cooperative, which comprises of 66 women farmers and every member has at least a cow.

“We women have made progress, our children are no longer malnourished and we no longer contract diseases related to poor nutrition,” she said.

Jean Damascene Nsengiyumva, Kirehe District Vice Mayor in charge of Economic Affairs, said that in past five years stunted growth in Kirehe district decreased from 42 per cent to 29 per cent.

Kirehe produces 4,000 tonnes of rice every year on 816 hectares and grows banana on 20,001 hectares.

The district also grows maize on around 26,000 hectares of consolidated land every season, producing over 80,000 tonnes.

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