Rwanda exports more beef during festive season

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By Daniel Sabiiti

Beef business is a lucrative business on the border posts especially in Rubavu and Rusizi, despite that some meat selling points have had to be closed down mid this year as a result of low hygiene standards in the two districts.

Annociata Mukeshimana, a beef dealer on the Rwanda- Congo border post in Rubavu says that this is the peak season for beef sales and especially exporting to DR Congo, and no chances to be taken.

Figures from the newly released Statistics Year Book – 2016 have indicated that Meat exports volumes (Kg) have increased from 3,655,694 in 2014-2015 to 5,470,946.28 Kgs in 2015-2016, with an increase in Revenues from over USD12.9million to USD19.2million.

Mukeshimana’s business has gotten a relative boost as a result of strict measures of meat hygiene and inspection taken by local leaders this year.

“The butcheries resumed work after implementing the hygiene requirements, and now we are back in business and we are sure we will keep up the standards” Mukeshimana said.

At least six butcheries of the 32 selling points in Gisenyi Town, Rubavu District were closed by local authorities this year as a result of deteriorating hygiene standards in the area. In the same year, Members of parliament.

While the beef business is selling like a hot cake, the prices have stayed relatively the same. A kilogram of meat costs between Rwf1600-1800 (for mixed meat) compared to Kigali prices which stood at Rwf2000.

Meat exporters in Gisenyi told Rwanda Eye that 90 percent slaughtered animal beef is sent to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

On the Rusizi border with DRC, Rwandans are also reported to be on the rush to get the last minute cash-in on beef sales, even after parliamentarians ordered the closure of Rusizi abattoir in Kamembe town.

Joseph Ntirushize, one of the abattoir staff in the area says that the abattoir has resumed work after improvement of hygiene standards at the only slaughter house in the area and they are planning to build a permanent structure in 2017.

After a two months sensitization and education programme government officials, in August, inspected 72 butcheries among them 15 was temporally closed and 400 kg of meat was condemned and destroyed, because of noncompliance with meat hygiene, lack of basic equipment in butcheries.

Rwanda is now setting its eyes on increasing the amount of beef produced locally as a way cutting imported beef from neighboring countries.

Through Gako integrated beef project- a flagship project to increase quality meat production for local and export markets, Rwanda will by 2018 increase the number of beef cattle to at least 3000 cows within the Gako farms.

Agro Processing Trust Corporation, one of the Investors of the Gako Integrated Beef Project. There are so far 947 modern goats and 473 cows in feed lots system on 1500 hectares in former Gako military domain.

Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources Dr. Gerardine Mukeshimana said earlier this year, that project is aimed at increasing beef production and effectively reduces the quantity of imported meat in Rwanda, and so far more than Rwf2.5billions have been invested in its infrastructure development.

“We are at phase one of the project of putting in place viable infrastructure before handing the project to private investors,” Minister Mukeshimana told media while touring the beef project.

Gako beef project sits on 4500 hectares of land, will cost more than 3.4 billion Rwandan francs.

In the meantime, Rwanda has entered a deal with the Korea Rural Economic Institute (KREI) to boost meat production and processing. The partnership will help in increasing meat production to 410,000 metric tons by 2017 from 86,000 metric tons produced currently.









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