The wide spread availability of hybrid cows has drastically increased milk production in the districts of Nyagatare, Gatsibo and Kayonza.
This was revealed yesterday, by Dr. Théogene Rutagwenda the Director of Rwanda Animal Resource Development Authority (RARDA).
Rutangwenda told The New Times that after the introduction of modern breeds of cattle, milk production has multiplied three-fold in the three districts.
He said that farmers have embraced the idea of modern farming holistically, and do not hesitate to sell for instance, 40 traditional breed to buy 10 exotic cows.
“The trend is fascinating after we broke the myth that the modern cows cannot survive the Rwandan climatic conditions. Milk is given in schools and farmers are making a lot of cash out of milk sales,” he said.
“Modern farming has checked the spread of diseases...people are indeed making huge profits. Farmers’ sales go beyond 240 million per week in market days. There is positive change of livelihoods”.
Dr. Justin Zimurinda, the coordinator of RARDA, in Eastern Province, reiterated that there is vivid increase of milk production, even in other districts not traditionally known for milk production.
He said that the positive attitude of people towards farming has been behind the successful stocking of modern cows in the Province.
“The impact is great, farmers can now feed, treat and inseminate their cows timely. Of course sensitization must be repetitive, but it is great to note that all districts are doing well in milk production,” he said.
Richard Safari a farmer in Murundi Sector of Kayonza District said that farmers have managed to cross-breed their cows after a sensitization campaign.
He said that people were reluctant at first and wanted to remain with the traditional long horned cows.
“I was among those who were not ready to abandon the long horned cows. You see they look beautiful and keep our traditions, but I had to respect the opportunity cost involved, and I have never regretted,” said Safari.
Since 1994, the population of cows in Rwanda has increased from 172,000 to 1.4 million, according to statistics.