Andrew Butare is the chairman of the Rwanda Poultry Association. He is also a farmer. He has been rearing poultry in his farm, located in Muhazi, Rwamagana district for ten years now.
He decided to go into poultry farming because it doesn’t require a large plot of land; land being scarce in Rwanda and with the average size of a farm being quite small, he decided that poultry farming would be more suitable than any other livestock farming.
On top of that, the investment required to start a poultry farm is smaller compared with other livestock and the business cycle is short.
“You invest money and after a short period of time you get the returns. For example, if you invest in broiler farming (poultry for meat), within two months you sell off the stock, earn the money, then clean up the pens and invest again,” he says.
Butare is also part of a 23-member marketing cooperative, with a warehouse located in Kabuga district.
Members bring their produce to the cooperative and the cooperative does the marketing and the selling for them.
It also supplies them with agricultural inputs like chicken feed.
The association produces an average of 4,000 eggs per day, approximately 1.5 million eggs per year.
They barely satisfy the market, and are working hard to scale their production. Their objective is to bring down the cost of eggs, so that it can become affordable enough even for the low income bracket.
But members don’t just produce for the Rwandan market, they also export to bordering countries, especially the eastern DRC, particularity North and South Kivu provinces.
The government has prioritized the poultry sector and described in the policy document live stock master plan 2017/2022 as the flag ship of livestock farming.
The government has also had a very positive impact on the sub-sector. According to Butera, the Rwanda Agricultural Board (RAB) is challenging them to do more, to organize the value chain and to professionalize the sector.
For example, RAB has helped poultry farmers, by organizing at least one training every year for farmers.
“As an association, we think RAB should improve on the training, like broaden it in terms of content, but also bring it down to the lower level farmers. At the regional, sector and district level,” he says.
Butare spoke to Taarifa during the just concluded Poultry Africa 2019 summit in Kigali.
Participants showcased new products like drugs and vaccines, exhibited by 120 international companies represented at the event.
There were technical workshops that discussed various themes related to poultry.
“The poultry Africa 2019, coming after the Poultry Africa 2017, first ever in Africa, uncovered our potential and we have heard a lot of information, that led to our perspective change and determination to do better.”
The Rwanda Poultry Association, made the most of the Poultry Africa 201.
They managed to secure a memorandum of understanding with the FISA, a Moroccan poultry industry association.
The FISA agreed to share with them training, study tools, sharing aspects of curriculum regarding poultry so as to give and have a higher level institutions of learning.