Heifer International has announced a four-year $42.8 million (approximately Frw 23 billion) grant from Bill and Melinda Gates foundation aimed at boosting poor rural farmers in East Africa.
This was revealed on January 25 by Heifer International Rwanda country director Dr. Charles Kayumba at a press conference held at Terracom house in Kigali.
Dr Kayumba said Rwanda’s ratio of the total amount is $6.8 million (approximately Frw 3.7 billion). The donation will particularly function in three East African countries including Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda.
According to figures made by Heifer international, the fund will help 179,000 families (approximately 1million people).
He said the amount will be used in strengthening rural Farmers to increase milk production by constructing milk processing firms.
The director of Rwanda Agriculture Research Development Agency, Dr. Muhinda welcomed the grant and expressed his appreciation to Bill and Melinda Gates foundation for its support in promoting East African farmers.
“We are happy because this grant is timely. It will help the government to realise our vision 2020 line of distributing cows to poor families,” he said, adding that it will help Rwandans to compete with other East African dairy farmers.
Three districts in the Eastern Province including Gatsibo, Rwamagana and Nyagatare are targeted for the project. Heifer will manage the project with two partner organizations, Thechnoserve, a U.S-based non profit organisation that fights poverty by encouraging business development, and the International Live stock Research Institute (ILRI), an animal- research organisation based in Nairobi, Kenya.
Milk production is expected to increase through artificial insemination to improve local breeds of dairy cows and through improved animal nutrition. This is the largest single grant to Heifer in its 63-years history.