While I’m sure that becoming a wool exporting country sounds like a good idea to those in the agriculture ministry, I think that this was not well-thought through. The type of animals that produce the best kind of wool, Marino sheep, are extremely high maintenance animals.
They need a lot of space to roam, a commodity that we simply don’t have in this country. That is why zero-grazing is so popular in the villages where land is at a premium.
Secondly, training farmers in sheep-rearing, shearing, and all that it takes, will be quite expensive and time consuming.
Thirdly, I assume that we don’t have to simply export raw wool. If we do that, we would be simply giving someone else our hard earned profits. So, that would mean that we would have to get a wool-processing factory. The equipment would cost a fortune.
Why don’t we simply consolidate what we have? We have a embryonic silk and a tanning industry and I don’t know why we aren’t paying even more attention to them. Silk, for example, has probably the highest profit margins in the natural fibre market.
We should reinvest in the hides business because that was an area Rwanda has traditionally been strong in. I’m not saying that the wool industry couldn’t work here, all I’m saying is that we should focus on our strengths.