After two years of closing down due to the 2005 outbreak of Avian influenza (bird flu), the National Hatchery is steadily progressing with increased production.
This was revealed yesterday by the Director General of Rwanda Animal Resources Development Authority (RARDA), Dr Théogène Rutagwenda, in an interview with The New Times.
According to Rutagwenda, the influenza which forced most hatcheries in the region to close is no longer a threat to poultry production because protection and diagnosis of the virus were stepped up by the government and its partners.
“This is in fact the reason why the National Hatchery has progressed to a level of disseminating over 200,000 day old chicks and about 500,000 eggs countrywide since October last year.”
“After renovation of the hatchery, we acquired 2400 layers and 2002 broiler chicks as a parent stock from Malawi last year. To date eggs are no longer scarce as they were back then. Many people have also been employed through selling poultry products,” he explained.
An egg at the hatchery in Rubirizi costs Rwf50 and Rwf100 on the average market.
Rutagwenda also noted that various farmers, especially in Gakenke, Northern Province, have booming poultry businesses out of their purchases from the hatchery.
“Some farmers have over 10,000 birds now which have uplifted them from poverty.
With a capacity of about 30,000 birds and hatching machines that can produce 18,000 birds in 3 weeks we have been able to also export day old chicks to Burundi,” he added.
Despite steps taken to develop this industry, the Director General identified lack of feed as the main problem facing the poultry sector. With reference to neighboring Uganda where the feed is imported from, Rutagwenda says that it is still very expensive.
In a bid to target more commercial farmers, he adds that plans to set up a US $1 million feed manufacturing plant are in the pipeline and if established, the investment will capture regional markets as well.