Rwanda: Rusizi - Meat Processors Want Modern Facilities As Demand Surges

Abattoir operators in border districts have appealed for modern facilities to improve efficiency and cater for the increasing demand for meat.

Improving the standards of their slaughterhouse, the operators say, would boost Rwanda's meat production for domestic consumption and export markets in neighbouring countries.

Jean Pierre Habiyaremye, the President of Meat Traders in Rusizi District, says the Rusizi abattoir can only slaughter 60 cows, 100 goats, 70 pigs per day due to use of outdated slaughtering methods.

"We need a modern abattoir. That could help us double the number of animals that we slaughter every day," he said.

Habiyaremye says that with an improved abattoir they could increase their slaughtering capacity to over 100 cows, 200 pigs and 500 goats per.

The abattoir operators have so far raised Rwf150 million, but still, have a financing shortage of Rwf800 million to construct a modern facility.

The use of poor machines also leads to damage of the animal products that would otherwise fetch extra revenue such as hides from the cows.

"When skins get damaged, they are rejected by buyers," Habiyaremye noted.

$1.1 million funding

Recently, Rwanda secured $1.1 million from the African Development Bank to bolster the competitiveness of the country's meat industry.

The grant aims to expand the meat production value chain, enhance market access for the country's livestock products.

The project, to be implemented between September 2020 and August 2022, targets Rubavu, Nyagatare, Bugesera and Rusizi districts.

It will directly benefit more than 650 producers, processors and merchants, 74 per cent of whom are women working in informal cross-border trade, according to the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Over six abattoirs will also be supported.

The funding comes at a time the country is implementing a five-year livestock masterplan (running from 2017/2018 to 2021/2022) aimed at increasing farmers' incomes and strengthening food and nutritional security.

Under the plan, Rwanda seeks to reach 663,000 tonnes of meat production every year, 2.2 billion litres of milk and 1.9 billion eggs.

This output would substantially increase food supply, critically needed to cater to the country's growing population.

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