Government urges private sector to invest in milk processing

The Government of Rwanda continues to focuse on quantity, quality and hygiene of milk, urges private sector to invest in milk processing of that milk.

On June 18, 2018, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through its Private Sector Driven Agricultural Growth Project (PSDAG), officially launched its partnership with Masaka Creamery, an American-owned company based in Rwanda that produces cultured dairy products (yogurt, cheese and butter). The event took place at the new Masaka Creamery’s factory in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ), Gasabo District.

Masaka Creamery used a 234 Million Frw grant from USAID to acquire new dairy
processing equipment, cold storage equipment, and milk quality laboratory equipment. These investments will
also increase the incomes of farmers who supply Masaka Creamery with milk and will help to meet market
demand and quality requirements.

USAID support to Masaka Creamery has helped the company build and equip a new processing facility in Kigali SEZ, where the firm successfully transitioned equipment and operations from a previous factory in Masaka District. The new factory has an additional processing line, new packaging equipment, a laboratory to monitor and improve product quality and food hygiene, as well as ample room to grow with the company.

The investments made by Masaka Creamery with USAID support have boosted the company’s annual domestic sales by 200 percent, supported the development of eight new products (fresh cream, sour cream, butter, ghee, mascarpone, fruit yogurt, thick yogurt, ikivuguto), and contributed to local economic development by enabling an increase of income by 20 percent for 2,000 milk farmers in the Eastern and Northern Provinces.

The new products have received the Rwanda Standards Board quality standard certification and are currently being sold to high-end hotels, restaurants and retail markets. In addition, expansion of Masaka Creamery’s operations has
helped create 11 new jobs for which nine of the new hires are persons with disabilities.

Dr. Theogene Rutagwenda, the Director General of Livestock in the Ministry of agriculture and animal husbandry urges private sector to help the government to add value to the quantity of milk processed in Rwanda.

“Government has done more, we urge the private sector to invest in milk processing, by adding value like this processing company of Masaka

“We are now moving to a second stage of adding value to that farmers’ milk. We will produce several products with value added to our raw material which is the milk. The farmers will benefit, the consumers will benefit, and everybody as well as the Economy will grow.” He added.

He also thank the effort of Us Government in his supporting to the Rwandan Government, especially in the field of agriculture and animal husbandry which started after the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi, where Usaid agencies supported Land O’lakes project which helped the farmers to produce milk in quantity and quality.

US Ambassador to Rwanda Peter Vrooman who enjoyed to taste Ikivuguto( result of milk processed) thanks the Government of Rwanda for prioritize the development of the population.

“I think the potential to expand and grow this business is meaningful not just for Rwanda but for the entire Region.” He said.

“We are grateful to Masaka Creamery for having particularly employed the youth regardless of their disability (hearing) status. This is a perfect example of social inclusion and we hope that other businesses will draw into your footprints”. Says Jean Damascene, a representative of disabled workers at Masaka Creamery.

Masaka Creamery, which sources milk directly from small family-owned dairy farms, cooperatives, and milk
collection centers also provides extension services and training to farmers. The company has established a new partnership with KOZAMGI milk cooperative located in Gicumbi District, which provides raw milk from
2,000 farmers, supplying between 6,000 – 7,000 liters per week to Masaka Creamery.

Masaka Creamery also has in place higher quality standards for the milk it uses, and as a result, pays a higher purchase price to the farmers for raw milk (currently RWF 220/L as opposed to the average price of RWF 200/L), which is also contributing to USAID’s goal to increase incomes of small-scale farmers.

“Working with Masaka Creamery is a relief to our cooperative. We can now invest in new projects, because we
have a regular client who consistently pays us on a weekly basis, before we didn’t have the market of our milk”. Says Ntabanganyimana Rachid, the president.

Ntakirutimana Deus