Girinka programme to get 500 exotic cattle

Rwanda milk production could double by the end of 2014 following government efforts to give farmers dairy cattle. Already, it has finalised plans to import 500 exotic heifers from Holland worth Rwf1.1b. Andrew Kagabo, the Girinka programme national co-ordinator, said each heifer would cost $3,600 (about Rwf2.2m), which includes transport fees from Holland.
A MSAAD project official gives out a cow. The Girinka project aims at boosting milk production in the country. The New Times / Peterson Tumwebaze.
A MSAAD project official gives out a cow. The Girinka project aims at boosting milk production in the country. The New Times / Peterson Tumwebaze.

Rwanda milk production could double by the end of 2014 following government efforts to give farmers dairy cattle. Already, it has finalised plans to import 500 exotic heifers from Holland worth Rwf1.1b. Andrew Kagabo, the Girinka programme national co-ordinator, said each heifer would cost $3,600 (about Rwf2.2m), which includes transport fees from Holland.

“The objective of the project is, not only to boost milk production, but to also reduce malnutrition across the country.”  Kagabo, however, noted that the heifers would be under a separate project, with funding from the Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD).

Rwanda milk production could double by the end of 2014 following government’s efforts to provide farmers dairy cattle. It has already finalised plans to import 500 exotic heifers from Holland worth Rwf1.1b.

Andrew Kagabo, the Girinka programme national co-ordinator, said each heifer would cost $3,600 (about Rwf2.2m), which includes transport fees from Holland.

“The objective of the project is not only to boost milk production, but to also reduce malnutrition across the country.” 

Kagabo, however, noted that the heifers would be under a separate project targeting dairy farmer, with funding from the Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD).

On Saturday, 35 exotic dairy cattle were donated to the genocide widows association from Rwamagana and Kayonza districts by the MSAAD project of Ireland.

Kagabo also revealed that since last year, the Girinka programme’s budget had been increased by Rwf2.5b to Rwf4.1b, up from Rwf1.6b last year. This, Kagabo said, was a two per cent raise according to the recently-released gross domestic products figures.

Business Times has also learned that the programme, which started in 2006 and was supposed to end in 2015, has been extended to 2017. The project co-ordinator said by then, about 350,000 families would have benefitted from the programme, which aims at improving household income and nutriution levels.

“We have so far covered 145,016 families, but our target is 350,000 families,” Kagabo said.

Last year, the Girinka project gave out 3,824 cows in districts of Ngoma, Bugesera, Gatsibo and Nyagatare worth Rwf1.2b. “Our target for this year is to have 144,790 cows distributed to families,” Kagabo added.

He, however, said this could only be achieved if the project’s budget is increased to Rwf6.5b. The project is also understaffed, he noted. Kagabo also said that farmers were selling the cows.

“We have a case in Nyamagabe, where 41 cows have already been sold off. Therefore, as the agricultural board, we need to come up with a legal framework so that the culprits are punished. We have also established that some farmers are using the cows as collateral to secure loans from banks. What will happen when they have failed to pay back these loans?,” Kagabo wondered.

Though there have been some distribution delays in the districts of Huye, Kayonza and Gatsibo because of some financial delays, Kagabo said all the intended beneficiaries would get the heifers. He added that the tendering processes was already underway and heifers would be delivered before the end of the year.

Dr. Christine Kanyandekwe, the deputy director general in charge of livestock at the Rwanda Agricultural Board, acknowledged the need to boost milk production for both local market and international market.

“It’s commendable that the government has taken this initiative to import 500 heifers from the Netherlands…this is good for the country and dairy farmers,” Kanyandekwe said.

Milk consumption per capita has been increasing from about 12kg in 2006 to between 27kg and 40kg per capita.

Equally, production has risen from 152 tonnes in 2006, to 158 tonnes in 2007 to 403 tonnes in 2010 and to over 655 million litres today.

This has seen the importation of milk reduce drastically. 

 

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