RWANDA – Dairy companies in Rwanda exceeded their processing target by one million litres on account of several initiatives put in place by the government, according to Uzziel Ndagijimana, Rwanda’s Minister of Finance.

The country had targeted to have 20,069,334 litres of milk delivered to processing plants in the first 6 months from July 2022 to January 2023.

However, as of January 2023, about 21,066,384 litres of milk had been delivered to factories, as announced by Minister Uzziel during the presentation of the revised 2022-2023 national budget in a recent joint parliament session.

The growth of milk production is attributed to the livestock insurance programme, artificial insemination and cattle vaccination among other measures employed by the Ministry of Agriculture.

According to the Minister, 25,254 cattle, 165,700 chickens and 3,233 pigs were insured in 2022 as part of the general increment in the livestock and crop insurance program. During the same period, 24, 171 cows were inseminated and 10,977 calves were born.

“252,741 livestock were vaccinated against black quarter diseases, 88,704 livestock were vaccinated against Foot Mouth Disease; 417,930 livestock protected from Lumpy Skin Disease; and about 8,812 livestock are protected from brucellosis,” Ndagijimana told Parliament.

Despite an uptick in the amount of milk processed, the nation has been grappling with the impacts of the prolonged drought which caused a strain on milk production during the dry season.

According to Solange Uwituze, Deputy Director General of animal resources development at the Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board, the annual milk production (2022) is 999,976 tonnes which currently meets the demand level.

This amount however dwindles during the dry season. The government, therefore, put in place other measures to secure sufficient milk supply throughout the year.

These included improving dairy farmers’ knowledge and skill toward the appropriate breeding and rearing practices as well as improving their access to artificial insemination and veterinary services at the milk centre level.

All these measures were put in place at the beginning of the year and they have contributed to the newly recorded increase in milk production.

Upbeat about the dairy sector’s performance in 2022, the government of Rwanda announced that it intends to increase annual milk production to 1.25 million tonnes by 2024.

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