Rwanda and the Republic of South Korea are seeking closer ties to jointly enhance the former’s beef exports and livestock farming.
The initiative is under the framework of bilateral cooperation through which Rwanda’s Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources is getting support from Korea Rural Economic Institute (KREI).
As part of the deal, a team of experts from South Korea is currently conducting a one week training programme in Rwanda to share expertise, experience and knowledge with local livestock stakeholders on how to increase beef supply and develop its processing.
According to Innocent Musabyimana, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, the partnership would enhance cooperation in areas of research and animal genetic modification.
“The initiative will help improve productivity and quality along value chain, thus increasing the country’s beef and livestock exports,” Musabyimana told The New Times yesterday.
We want to come up with a concrete strategic plan that will help in scaling up our efforts towards improving our livestock industry, Musabyimana added.
The Korean experts are expected to train stakeholders in beef production and processing in various marketing strategies and livestock production based on South Korea’s experience.
Rwanda’s meat export market is dominated by the DR Congo and Burundi.
The country is targeting to increase its meat production to 4.7 million kilogrammes by the end of 2015, up from current 1.8 million kilogrammes.
The country’s milk production is equally expected to increase to a tune of 16.4 million litres from the current 5.8 million litres, according to the National Agriculture Export Board (NAEB) statistics.
Government fetched US$11.7 million from 3.4 million kilograms of beef exported last fiscal year.
The target is to earn US $16 million from beef exports by end of 2015.
The export agency is equally targeting to increase its production of hides and skins to a tune of 16.5million kilograms by the end of the year up, from current 4.8million kilogrammes.
Kim Jongsun, an economist at the Centre for International Agriculture Partnership in South Korea, said Rwanda needs to put in place policies which are pro-farmers to boost its livestock industry.
“You must work very closely with farmers and align their mindset towards modern farming methods that will help boost exports, including livestock products,” Jongsun noted.
Dr Théogène Rutagwenda, the director-general of Animal Resources at the Ministry of Agriculture, said drawing experiences from the rest of the world will not only enhance the agriculture industry but help spur economic growth.
Government early this year dropped Value Added Tax (VAT) on local animal feeds to boost the livestock sector.