Rwanda feed plant boosts pro­duc­tion

Fish Farmer - - World News -

THE cost of fish feed in Rwanda has been re­duced by half thanks to a new fish feed fac­tory that has started op­er­a­tions in the coun­try, ac­cord­ing to the New Times of Rwanda.

The fac­tory, lo­cated in Ki­gali Spe­cial Eco­nomic Zone (KSEZ), has the ca­pac­ity to pro­duce about 700kg of feed per hour, and is ex­pected to boost fish farm­ing in the coun­try.

Lo­cal fish farm­ers have been im­port­ing feeds from Is­rael, Ger­many, Mau­ri­tius, and Uganda, and they say this was costly be­cause of freight charges. It also af­fected the fresh­ness of the feed and fish pro­duc­tiv­ity.

So far, the fac­tory has in­stalled a fa­cil­ity worth £300,000 (about Rwf330 mil­lion).

Bart Gasana, the manag­ing direc­tor of Aqua­hort Ex­ports, the firm that owns the fac­tory, told the New Times that the plant will ex­pand its ac­tiv­i­ties de­pend­ing on feed de­mand from farm­ers.

Gasana said the fac­tory will guar­an­tee farm­ers fresh, nu­tri­tious and af­ford­able feed. The in­gre­di­ents mak­ing up the feed come from com­modi­ties such as soya, maize, and other fish prod­ucts.

Fran­cis Kavutse, a fish farmer at Mu­hazi Lake, with var­i­ous ponds in Kay­onza District, said: ‘In about three months since I started us­ing this lo­cally pro­duced feed, I have re­alised that it is nu­tri­tious and it has a smell that fish recog­nises fast. Fish re­spond by con­sum­ing it eas­ily be­cause it does not sink in wa­ter.’

Kavutse owns 30 cages and he needs be­tween two to five tonnes of feed per month. The cost of feed since the new plant was built has dropped from about Rwf1,500 (£1.50) to Rwf800 (about 75p) per kg.

‘With this feed, each fish in my ponds is grow­ing at a rate of about 40 per cent com­pared to the im­ported feed, which could only stand be­tween 18 to 20 per cent of growth rate,’ he said.

Kavutse said the feed they used to im­port weighed less com­pared to the ac­tual weight in­di­cated on the sack. A sack in­di­cat­ing 40kg ac­tu­ally weighed about 25kg or 28kg, he claimed.

Gasana noted that they want to fur­ther re­duce the price of the feed to Rwf400 to make it more af­ford­able to farm­ers.

‘There should be mea­sures to re­duce the cost of raw ma­te­ri­als needed for the pro­duc­tion of the feed and elec­tric­ity, such that we re­duce the price of fish feed to Rwf400. By so do­ing, we will in­crease fish farm­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity at a very good rate,’ he said.

The Pro­gramme Co­or­di­na­tor of Aqua­cul­ture and Fish­eries at Rwanda Agri­cul­ture Board (RAB), Dr Wil­son Ru­ta­ganira, said the fac­tory would help farm­ers get af­ford­able feed, and pro­mote com­mer­cial fish farm­ing, mainly through cages.

He said that fish feed typ­i­cally ac­counts for more than 65 per cent of the sec­tor pro­duc­tion cost.

‘Hav­ing such a fac­tory in the coun­try is very im­por­tant be­cause the cost of feed is go­ing to re­duce, more pro­duc­tion is go­ing to be sup­ported, as well as more in­crease in in­vest­ment,’ he said.

There are only 1,600 tonnes of fish pro­duced from aqua­cul­ture per year, but Ru­ta­ganira noted that thanks to this fac­tory, pro­duc­tion could in­crease to be­tween 5,000 tonnes and 10,000 tonnes per year if farm­ers em­brace the use of the feed.

The fac­tory comes after the gov­ern­ment pri­va­tised Ur­ban Fish­eries Prod­ucts Pro­mo­tion Cen­tre, a fa­cil­ity that was re­spon­si­ble for col­lect­ing fish and sell­ing it in the Rwan­dan cap­i­tal, Ki­gali, to Ac­qua­hort Ex­ports, for a 10-year lease.

To fur­ther fa­cil­i­tate farm­ers’ ac­cess, Gasana said the fac­tory will of­fer the feed to farm­ers on credit pro­vided that they sup­ply fish to the com­pany. The cost of feed will be de­ducted from the pay­ment that a farmer will re­ceive for their pro­duce.

When fish pro­duce gains mo­men­tum, the com­pany will en­gage in fish col­lec­tion, treat­ment, distri­bu­tion, pro­cess­ing, pack­ag­ing and ex­port, he said.

Rwanda’s to­tal fish pro­duc­tion from both aqua­cul­ture and cap­ture fish­eries amounts to 26,500 tonnes per year. The coun­try, which im­ports about 15,000 tonnes of fish per year, has set it­self a tar­get to pro­duce 112,000 tonnes by 2018.

Above: Rwanda has set it­sel am­bi­tious pro­duc­tion tar­gets

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