More families in Bugesera District have got a shot in the arm to improve their living standards, thanks to a donation of dairy cows by the Bugesera Natural Region Rural Infrastructure Support Project (PAIRB).
Jean Baptiste Rwigema, the PAIRB programme manager, said 143 families in Gashora and Rweru sectors benefited from the donation that is part of the Girinka programme.
Girinka is a national project that is geared towards eradicating poverty and improving nutrition levels among poor households.
Rwigema said besides ensuring the beneficiaries get a sustainable source of income, the cows will boost milk production in the country and help fight malnutrition in the district.
He noted that the PAIRB project was launched in Bugesera District since 2011 with intention of offering about 1,600 crossbreed cows.
“So far, we have distributed more than 1,409 cows to farmers,” Rwigema said during the handover of the cows over the weekend.
He urged the beneficiaries to work with veterinary officials and adopt recommended standards of dairy farming to gain maximally from the cattle.
Jean Bosco Misigaro, one of the beneficiaries, said the cows will also help them get manure to use in their plantations and hence increase crop productivity.
The Girinka programme was established in 2006, and, so far, distributed dairy cows to over 200,000 vulnerable households countrywide.
The programme was set up with the main aim of reducing child malnutrition and increasing household incomes of poor Rwandans.
Dr Andrew Kagabo, the Girinka project national co-ordinator, said they have largely been able to achieve these objectives as more poor household now have access to milk, thanks to the heifers provided under the programme.
Kagabo noted that the programme has played a crucial role in addressing the challenge of food insecurity in some parts of the country.
He said they are targeting to distribute more than 350,000 dairy cows by the end of 2017.
Florence Umurungi, the president of the National Dairy Platform, said the project is playing a big role in improving milk production in the country.
She added that the group will work with the beneficiaries to ensure they reap from the project.
Umurungi said dairy farming is a key sector that can help increase the country’s exports if it is fully supported and farmers provided the requisite animal husbandry skills to improve milk production.