Up to 13,000 households should be given cows in the Northern Province before the end of this year in order to hit the set target, provincial officials and Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) said.
The target is in line with a seven-year government programme set out in 2010, according to Dr Mark Cyubahiro Bagabe, the Director General of RAB.
“The target was to have 68,000 vulnerable households given cows by the end of seven years and so far, 55,000 households have got cows and that is why we are working hard to meet the target by providing cows to the rest,” he said.
Speaking at the closure of Girinka Week in Gicumbi District on Friday, Bagabe said the week had been dedicated to explain more about Girinka programme, initial expectations, and review ministerial guidelines for implementation while also looking at more funds to achieve the targets.
The week was also used to identify all Girinka programme challenges, to address those that need immediate solution and also draw a roadmap for solving those whose solution is long term.
The challenges include sale of provided cows, poor cow management, refusal to pass on calves, embezzlement among others.
According to guidelines, beneficiaries of girinka are supposed to pass on heifers to other beneficiaries selected by local administration in a rotating chain.
According to a provincial report, 3,484 cows had reproductive problems.
Bagabe urged the beneficiaries to use manure from provided cows so as to increase crop production as well as increase house hold incomes through milk sales.
During Girinka week closing, 1,216 cows were passed on to other beneficiaries, the report shows.
Cyprien Nkurikiyimana, one of the beneficiaries of Girinka programme spoke of how one cow he was given has changed his life.
“I received a cow which was due and when it produced, I would collect money from milk sales. I used the money to buy more land and applying manure from my cows increased my harvest from 20kg of beans to 300 kg per season,” he said.
He said that he also started working with banks and his portfolio continued growing until he was able to acquire Rwf2 million loan to invest in commercial farming.
Ntakirukitimana said that he has prospered over a short period of time and besides building a modern residential house for his family, he also built a commercial building which he rents to business operators.
Speaking at the same occasion, the Governor of Northern Province, Jean Claude Musabyimana urged the beneficiaries to take good care of the cows, feed them and consult veterinary officers whenever necessary so that the cows are able to help them graduate from poverty.
He called on locals to be vigilant and hold their leaders accountable, especially whenever an anomaly has been sighted in the implementation of the programme.