NYAGATARE/GATSIBO - The USAID Dairy Competitiveness Project, yesterday, awarded farmers in Nyagatare and Gatsibo districts who have improved their livelihoods through better livestock management.
Over 500 dairy farmers, who had previously received $100 each to start up a small business, were recognized.
Ann S. Casper, from the US Embassy in Kigali, who officiated at the function, said that the farmers were able to uplift their lives after receiving various training sessions.
The diplomat, speaking in Kinyarwanda, to the amusement of her audience, promised that USAID would continue to assist farmers.
“I am happy to note that farmers in the two districts have gone where any modern farmer would want to be. The certificates given are a symbol of appreciation from our part,” she said.
According to Roger Steinkamp, the project’s Country Manager, farmers have grown Napier grass for home use and sale, hence increasing their income.
He added that the overall aim is to help transform the dairy industry’s competitiveness.
“Under this programme, we employ a market-driven chain approach. Ultimately, smallholder household income will be increased by selling quality milk,” he said.
Leonard Gatsimbanyi, a farmer in Rwimiyaga sector, told The New Times that he has developed good livestock reproductive management skills.
He added that farmers prepare and sell molasses, milk in an organized way, hence increasing general income.
Most farmers who went through the project training, have cross-bred the local cows, to significantly increase milk production.
“We are now at a point of expanding milk and ghee business. The food supplements we give our cows contribute to our gross production. We are moving away from the traditional poor farming,” Gatsimbanyi said.