The forthcoming International Dairy Conference and Exhibition in Kigali will provide the perfect platform for the country to showcase Girinka programme as Rwanda’s innovation that other countries can learn from, an official said.
Jean Claude Kayisinga, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI), was yesterday addressing a news conference ahead of the 12th largest dairy exhibition on the continent.
To run from August 31 to September 2 at Kigali Convention Centre, the event will bring together more than 600 delegates from 40 countries.
The event, organised under the theme, “African Dairy; the future begins here,” seeks to highlight strategies to boost dairy production, quality, trade and market access.
It will also showcase latest technologies, products and services from over 100 exhibitors drawn from around the world, including those from France, Holland, America, Israel and Italy.
The conference is co-organised by Eastern and Southern African Dairy Association (ESADA), Rwanda National Dairy Platform (RNDP) and MINAGRI.
“Among our achievements that we can showcase [in dairy sector] is the Girinka Programme (One Cow per Poor Family) that can offer lessons,” he noted.
A total of 246,000 cows have been distributed under Girinka Programme, according to Dr Christine Kanyandekwe, head of animal resources department at Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB).
The programme aims to provide 350,000 cows to poor families by 2017.
The programme has been hailed by beneficiaries for its role in fighting malnutrition through milk consumption and manure for improved crop productivity.
According to the players in dairy sector, the conference comes at a time when there is renewed interest in Rwanda’s and regional dairy sector with global firms making investments into this growing industry.
Florence Musiime Umurungi, chairperson of Rwanda National Dairy Platform (RNDP), said “setting up RNDP and having the support of the Government in the development of the dairy sector is a golden opportunity.”
RNDP is a forum of professional business operators involved in the dairy value chain of Rwanda and was created in 2014.
Milk production and consumption
In Rwanda, improved cow breeds can produce between 25 and 30 litres of milk per day each. The average milk production per cow is eight litres per day.
According to figures from RAB, milk production in Rwanda is over 710,014 tonnes compared to the target of 723,831 tonnes in 2017.
The Director of Veterinary Services at RAB, Dr Isidore Gafarasi, said, last year, the country exported 50,000 tonnes of milk, representing less than 10 per cent of its total milk yield, and 2,000 tonnes of cheese for $1.2 million altogether.
Figures from RAB show that the current national cattle population is more than 1.34 million. The national herd population is expected to expand to 1.67 million cattle in 2017 and 1.92 million by 2020.
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