A new milk processing plant worth Rwf488 million was launched on Wednesday in Burera District, to boost dairy farming in the area.
It was constructed by the Ministry of Trade and Industry in conjunction with Business Development Fund (BDF), the European Union and United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).
The factory has machines used in filtering, two tanks with 1,500 litre storage capacity per day and milk coolers, according to the manager Emmanuel Mahoro.
It produces 100 cartons of cheese per day, coagulated milk and butter.
It is expected that the plant would strengthen Girinka programme by adding value and increasing household income for the farmers.
“Before the factory construction, one litre of milk was at Rwf70 due to low demand but now it has doubled. The low price was affecting livestock farmers,” said James Niyongira, a resident of Cyanika sector.
Speaking at the launch, the minister for Trade and Industry Francois Kanimba said the plant would boost exports in the dairy sector.
“Transporting milk from farmers to collection centres and then to factory requires infrastructure to preserve quality. Every year we have to set a budget for that. By March UNIDO, accepted to give Burera Dairy a transport truck with milk coolers. This is part of a 5 year programme to develop dairies in Rwanda,” he said.
However, dairy farmers said transport and milk supply remains a challenge.
Farmers said 62 per cent of their 1879 cows are traditional breeds with low milk yields, only 38 per cent are hybrid and Friesians.
We need more milk to satisfy the factory demand, said Celestin Rubura, the president of the dairy farmer’s cooperative known by its acronym as C.E.P.T.L.
The factory receives between 800 and 1,000 litres of milk per day, below 6,000-litre capacity.
Kanimba asked the cooperative to organise its management properly so that they can get autonomy to manage the new plant.
He pledged that the transport issue will be solved in March.
Mahoro, the manager, said once they get Rwanda Standard Board certification, there is ready market for their products even in DR Congo.
Aime Bosenibamwe, the governor of Northern Province, urged farmers to adopt high yielding cows and start buying animal feeds for their animals to increase milk productivity.
Joseph Mungarurire, the director general of National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA) responsible for community processing centres said more research could be carried out on products which could be produced by the plant.