Pig and poultry yields are expected to increase thanks to fresh interventions aimed at reducing the prices of animal feeds and improve the quality of breeds.
The country is banking on a Rwf15 billion project, which was launched recently by Partnership for Resilient and Inclusive Small Livestock Markets (PRISM), to develop the livestock value chain.
The 5-year project also seeks to attract private investments in the industry to reduce imports of eggs and meat.
Funded by Enabel, a Belgian Development Agency the project is implemented in partnership with the Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB).
Solange Uwituze, the Deputy Director-General of Animal Research and Technology Transfer at RAB, said that by 2023 they target to have 12,000 poultry and pig farmers and at least 9000 soybeans and maize producers.
“The two main challenges that we expect to resolve are the shortage of animal feeds and poor breeds,” she observed.
Dirk Deprez, Resident Representative of Enable in Rwanda, said the programme seeks to stimulate economic growth and respond to the changing consumer needs of the Rwandan society.
Jean Claude Shirimpumu, a pig farmer and chairperson of the Rwanda Pig Farmers’ Association hopes that the project will help farmers get quality breeds and have access to affordable feeds.
Expensive maize and wheat, which are key raw materials in the production of animal feeds, remain a major challenge for farmers, he explained.
“There is competition between humans and animals for such cereals. The expensive animal feed is a recurrent problem,” he said.
In addition, Shirimpumu appealed for an improved breeding and artificial insemination centre for pigs to reduce imports.
“We do not have a breeding centre that is able to manage semen so that farmers are able to get artificial insemination services to improve the genetics of their pigs for increased productivity,” he said.
Another issue, he said, is the lack of modern pig slaughterhouses in the country.
According to statistics from RAB, Rwanda has a population of 5.3 million chickens and 1.38 million pigs. The country produces an estimated 9,000 tonnes of eggs, 37,300 tonnes of chicken meat, and 23,000 tonnes of pork per year as of 2019.
The Rwanda livestock master plan targets to more than double that pig meat production from to 67,076 tonnes by 2022.