By Jeanne d’Arc Munezero
The Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI), has urged Rwandans to drink milk instead of feasting on drinking.
The call was made on May 1st, 2023 in Kigali while celebrating World Milk Day 2023 under the theme, “Showcasing how dairy is reducing its environmental footprint, while also providing nutritious foods and livelihoods,”
Jean Claude Ndorimana, the Director General of Animal Resources Development said that we’re celebrating World Milk Day by sharing milk with children to support the solidarity culture to complement the Government of Rwanda’s school feeding program.
“Drinking milk helps the parents to fight malnutrition in children. Milk to children is essential especially in pre-primary schools because it improves nutritional status.” He said
“It should be a culture instead of drinking alcohol; we have to change our mindset of Rwandans. Government has continued to establish programs to do with milk production, such as increasing establishment of collection centres, and bringing milk to schools” He noted.
According to a government program, the MINAGRI set a plan to ensure that milk coolers are set in schools nationwide to help children get milk at the lower cost.
Agnes Mukangiruwonsanga the president of IAKIB Cooperative in Gicumbi District says that increasing milk production is possible, through modern farming methods.
“The cow gives you what you gave it, it gives milk because fed it, it gives fertilizer and the yield increases. Drinking milk is important because it is rich in nutrients, which makes us healthy.” The mother six children pointed out.
According to the National Strategy for Transformation (NST1), milk production in Rwanda increased from 142,511 metric tons in 2005 to almost 1 billion metric tons in 2022, and production is expected to reach 1,274,554 metric tons of milk per year by 2024.
In 2005, a Rwandan consumed 15 liters a year, now in 2023 he drinks 72 liters a year, while the FAO says that people living under the Sahara Desert should drink 125 liters a year.
Currently there are 132 collections and milk coolers with the capacity to receive 483,000 liters of milk in Rwanda.
50 factories including 7 large and 43 small dairies have been built, with a capacity of 254,000 liters per day.
In addition, there are 1,517,000 cows in Rwanda, of which 88% are productive.