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July 05, 2019

Rwanda Cattle Livestock Sector In Strong Recovery

The number of cows in Rwanda grew from just 172,000 in the immediate aftermath of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi to 1.3 million currently, according to figures from the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources..

Milk production went up from over 7.2 million litres per year in 1994 to 817 million litres in 2019, increasing over 110 times over the last 25 years.

Solange Uwituze, the Deputy Director General of Animal Research and Technology Transfer at Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB), told The New Times that Rwanda’s cattle are today composed of 43 per cent crossbreeds, 41 per cent local breeds, and 16 per cent pure breeds.

A big proportion of crossbreeds, Uwituze said, were donated to citizens through the government-backed Girinka scheme (One Cow per Poor Family) under which more than 354,700 cows had been distributed to needy Rwandan households by mid-June 2019.

The initiative has significantly boosted nutrition, farm productivity and household incomes.

“There has been a deliberate effort to improve the genetic potential of our national dairy herd through artificial insemination. Today, we inseminate 100,000 cows per year,” Uwituze said.

Shortly before the Genocide, the country had 600,000 cows but most of them were butchered by Genocide perpetrators during the three-month slaughter.

In the end only 172,000 cows were left by July 1994.

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