The business community in the country has been urged to invest in the production of animal feeds to increase livestock farming in the region.
The call was made by Tony Nsanganira, the State Minister for Agriculture, while inaugurating a new animal feeds factory in Rwamagana District on Tuesday.
The Rwamagana Animal Feeds Factory will buy farmers’ produce such as soy beans and maize at market prices, officials said.
Nsanganira said animal feeds can significantly contribute toward increasing livestock production, adding that there were still few such factories in the country.
He urged the private sector to invest in animal feeds production and agro-based processing firms.
“We are honoured to oversee the official opening of this factory, it comes as part of a solution to problems farmers have been experiencing related to accessing animal feeds in the country,” he said.
“Seeing the private sector increasingly taking the lead in setting up such facilities is encouraging. We believe we will be able to continuously respond to the challenge of availing animal feeds and reducing imports.”
The minister thanked the investors for the role played in the construction of the factory in Rwamagana, which he said was another proof that the private sector is in the driving seat of the country’s transformational agenda.
There are currently three major animal feed factories in the country; in Bugesera, Musanze and Rwamagana districts.
Veterinary officers at the factory said production of chicken (layers) would increase up to 98 per cent with appropriate animal feeds now available.
They said other animals such as pigs fed on processed feeds could weigh more kilogrammes than those fed traditionally.
“Our aim is to produce high quality animal feeds at reasonable prices…this will increase productivity. Farmers’ livelihoods will improve as they sell their crops to the factory and at the same time use the well processed feeds for their animals,” said Jean Paul Mutabikanwa, the factory manager.
Farmers around the area welcomed the new development, saying it was long overdue. They said it would contribute to increase in production, and help cut costs on transport they used to spend to buy feeds in Kigali and other distant places.
“This factory comes as a response to several challenges,” said Juliette Uwimana, a poultry farmer in the area.
Uwimana, however, said that, at Rwf280 a kilogramme, the price for the feeds was still too high for most farmers.
The government recently agreed to waive value added tax (VAT) on processed animal feeds and inputs for local agro-manufacturers and millers.