GICUMBI — District leaders were left bewildered last Thursday after livestock farmers rejected cows which had been supplied to them on credit, claiming the cows were of poor quality and could not guarantee the expected yields.
A total of 102 heads of cattle were procured by Gicumbi District through a credit facility offered by Banque Populaire, as part of the government cattle stocking programme.
Each cow was valued at Rwf500,000 to be repaid over a period of four years.
The first batch of farmers who were meant to receive the cows gathered at two sites of Byumba and Rutare.
Byumba site located at Gicumbi stadium drew livestock farmers from Nyankenke and Byumba Sectors, while the Rutare site comprised of farmers from Rutare and Muko Sectors.
When The New Times visited the Byumba site, livestock farmers interviewed said the 59 cows which had been allocated to them comprised of poorly fed cross breeds and local indigenous ones, which could not guarantee the expected high yields.
“These cows look like Fresian cross breeds on the body surface only. However the cows are in the actual sense local indigenous ones that produce low quantity of milk. Such cattle cannot guarantee servicing the bank loan within the stipulated four years,” said Theoneste Mugiraneza, a livestock farmer from Nyankenke Sector.
The New Times established that the district awarded the tender for supply of cattle for the program to two contractors, Alfred Nkubiri and another whose names we could not easily establish by press time.
The rejection of the cows, sources further revealed, means the tender will have to be re-advertised.
“If the farmers have rejected the cattle it means the bank will have no option but to annul the contract with the suppliers. The other option is to renew the terms of the contract so that farmers pay less for each of the procured cattle,” said Saidi Karegeya, the Banque Populaire Manager Gicumbi branch.
Karegeya further said that the bank had already loaned out a further Rwf.100, 000 to some farmers to construct kraals.
Mayor Bonane Nyangezi, who was flanked by his deputy in charge of Economic Affairs Ildephonse Butera, advised the cattle suppliers to urgently sort out the problem.
He challenged veterinary officers to test and verify all the cows which had been procured under this restocking program, to ascertain the farmers’ complaints and submit a report to his office.
“If the supplied cattle are not of the right quality as stipulated in the contract, they shall have to be rejected and returned to the suppliers,” said Nyangezi.