KIGALI - Government has issued a final deadline to individuals who are accused of illegally benefitting from the ‘One Cow per Poor Family’ project popularly known as ‘Girinka’ to return the cows not later than February 1 next year.
The 45-day ultimatum was issued in a statement released by the Minister of Agriculture Agnes Kalibata following another order issued by President Paul Kagame during the just concluded 7th National Dialogue.
The Girinka project was initially set up to develop animal husbandry for milk and provision of manure to support crop production for poor households across the country.
Increased milk production was mainly targeting a reduction in levels of child malnutrition in the country.
A research conducted by the Ministry of Finance together with the Ministry of Agriculture before the project started had earmarked 668,763 poor families as prospective beneficiaries but it has since emerged that well-to-do families who were not on the original list ended up benefitting.
“…Based on the recommendation of the 7th National Dialogue you are requested to withdraw within a period of 45 days all cows that were given to illegal beneficiaries,” reads a ministerial statement addressed to local leaders.
“The cows should be returned to local authorities and will be passed on to bonafide beneficiaries in the same sector to avoid long distances,” Kalibata’s directive reads in part.
It says that to effect the exercise of identifying those people who inappropriately got the cows, a committee was established at each sector that will be in charge of confiscating the illegally awarded cow.
“It is this committee that will also be charged with coming up with a list of the poor people in need of the cows who will be given those that will have been confiscated in the exercise,” the document states.
In the document, Kalibata says that those that acquired the cows illegally and later sold them will be forced to pay.