Pig farmers in the country have committed to adopt modern farming technologies and practices to boost the quality and competitiveness of local piggery products in the local and export markets.
Through the pig farmers association, they said this will enable them meet the target of boosting pork production from the current 20,000 tonnes annually to 70,000 tonnes in the next five years.
This commitment was made during a networking meeting held last week in Kigali.
Jean Claude Shirimpumpu, the president of the pig farmers’ association, said that while piggery can be among the highest short-term income generating activities, many people are still neglecting it and even some who are involved still lack adequate knowledge on pig farming.
“Lack of modern production technologies and practices is affecting quality and quantity of local piggery products in the local and export markets. It is important that Rwandans start looking at piggery as a good and profitable business. This should be the right time for pig farmers to do it with professionalism,” he said.
Shirimpumpu said that as the consumption demand keeps on increasing, there is need for more investors in the value chain mainly setting up modern slaughterhouses to promote standards.
“The lack of modern slaughterhouses and processing plants compromise standards, which affect our local and export expansion of the market to big buyers such as hotels and restaurants. There are currently only five modern slaughterhouses in the country and we would wish to have at least one in each sector,” he said.
Didace Rushigajiki, a livestock specialist at the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources, said the ministry appreciates the issues affecting pig farming, including market access, standards and modern farming methods.
He said the challenges require elaborate ways to deal with them but that, in the meantime, policies that promote quality and market access are in the pipeline.
“Apart from establishing modern slaughterhouses we need people who can set up processing plants which can produce a variety of products such as sausages. There is also need for new innovations because we are seeing a highly increasing consumption demand of pork from small to big consumers,” he said.
Rushigajiki added that to create a more conducive environment the ministry also plans to build the capacity of famers and technical staff on pig breeding, disease control and value chain.
So far, three pig breeds – Large White, Pietrain and Landrace – are being multiplied and distributed to farmers countrywide to spur production.