The private sector has been urged to invest in animal feeds production to help increase livestock farming.
The call was made, yesterday, by Tony Nsanganira, the state minister for agriculture, while inaugurating a new animal feeds factory in Musanze District.
Nsanganira said animal feeds can contribute much to increasing livestock production but there are still few factories in the country, which calls for more players in animal feeds production and in agribusiness sector.
Zamura Animal Feeds was constructed by Donnie Smith, an American investor and chief executive of Tyson Foods and founder of the African sustainable agriculture.
Constructed at the tune of $1.5 million (about Rwf1 billion, the factory can produce seven different types of animal feeds.
Nsanganira said there is need for more similar factories to be set up to increase feeds production and called on more investors to come on board.
“We are so privileged to witness the official launch of this factory, it is really a good opportunity for Rwanda but also an answer to a number of challenges we have had in the past related to securing animal feeds in the country,” he said.
“Having the private sector taking the lead in setting up such facilities is so encouraging. We believe we will be able to continuously respond to the challenge of availing animal feeds and reduce imports.”
The minister hailed the American investor for the role played in the construction of the factory, which he said was another proof that the private sector finds Rwanda one of the best places to do business in.
The new factory produces 40 metric tonnes everyday and it is expected to contribute to livestock development in general.
Milk productivity increased more than threefold, from 170,000 litres in 2009 to the current 600,000 litres produced annually across the country. But officials believe that once cows are fed appropriate feeds, milk production can increase threefold.
For layers, it was said the production can increase up to 100 per cent with appropriate animal feeds up from 75 per cent when feeds mixed by breeders.
It is also believed that pigs fed on factory-made feeds can weigh more kilogrammes than those fed traditionally.
Farmers welcomed the new development, saying it was long overdue and would contribute to the increase in production, and help cut cost on transport they used to spend to buy feeds in Kigali.
“I started using feeds from this factory two months ago and eggs production increased up to 100 percent from 85 per cent before. This factory comes as a response to several challenges,” said Aimable Abiyingoma, a poultry farmer.
Abiyingoma, however, said, at Rwf300 per kilogramme, the price was still too high for most farmers.
Mathew Karugarama, the factory chief executive, said plans are underway to set up stores across the country to support the Musanze and Kigali units.
He also said the factory would buy farmers’ produce such as soy beans, maize, among others, at market prices.