The planned milk powder and maize processing plants in Nyagatare District have raised hopes of steady market for farmers.
However, the development has also prompted authorities to encourage farmers to upgrade their businesses if they are to cash in on the envisaged increased demand for their produce.
Construction of the maize processing plant in the Nyagatare Industrial Park is at 54 per cent. Once complete, the Rwf800 million facility, is expected to process 30 tonnes of maize every day.
Nyagatare District is rich in livestock and maize production despite concerns that farmers have been so slow to adopt modern farming practices.
For instance, Dr Gérardine Mukeshimana, the Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, says that the district lags behind in applying fertilisers and adopting artificial insemination, which would otherwise boost productivity.
She disclosed that discussions are underway between the government and Inyange Industries to establish a milk powder factory in Nyagatare, which will process500,000 litres of milk per day.
The district collects 120,000 litres of milk every day, and in the agriculture season 2020A, from September 2019 to February 2020, it produced 97,560 tonnes of maize.
Nyagatare is one of the districts in the country with the largest arable land.
"There's a lot of untapped potential in Nyagatare," Mukeshimana added.
The Governor of the Eastern Province, Fred Mufulukye, said the district has put up infrastructure to facilitate business.
The Mayor Claudian D. Mushabe, said; "Last year, we had more production than demand. The milk powder factory will create market. It also means more income for the farmers and job opportunities for residents."
Hilary Hodari, a livestock farmer said that the factories will motivate farmers to increase production.
"There is a lot of milk during the rainy season, leading to oversupply. This discourages farmers from coming up with a clear plan to increase production in the dry season, a period during which milk is relatively scarce and demand is high," he explained.
In addition, farmers anticipate cheaper animal feed because remains from processed maize
Nyagatare District is one of seven districts in Eastern Province with a population 592,014 people of whom 70 per cent is engaged in agriculture.