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Rwanda set to get first powdered milk factory

Rwanda's livestock subsector is expected to get a major boost and dairy farmers get a ready market for their produce, thanks to the construction of a factory that will be making powdered milk.

According to information from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the installed capacity of that factory will allow it to process 252,000 litres per day.

It will be constructed in Byumba Sector of Gicumbi District in Northern Province.

The plant is estimated to cost around Rwf37 billion in investment, according to information from TRIOMF East Africa - a joint venture firm owned by South African and Rwandan investors, its majority shareholder.

Construction of the plant is expected to have started by the end of this year, and it will take a year for the factory to be completed, said Antoine Juru Munyakazi, Executive Chairman of TRIOMF East Africa.

The factory will be owned and operated by a company called East African Dairies, a shareholding between TRIOMF East Africa and dairy farmers in Gicumbi District.

TRIOMF East Africa will have 80 percent, while farmers will own 20 percent of the shares of the factory.

The New Times understands that the process to establish the factory is in good progress, and that TRIOMF's financing negotiations with BPR (Banque Populaire du Rwanda Limited) are making good progress.

"We have that will to process milk into powder because it can be easily and safely preserved, and there is also a market for that product in neighbouring countries such as (DR) Congo," Munyakazi said.

He added that the company will invest its own money as well as bank loan, adding that the request for loan was promising.

Pierre-Célestin Hakizimana, the president of IAKIB - a dairy farmers' cooperative in Gicumbi District which represents the 10 cooperatives that will have shares in the factory, told The New Times that the cooperatives already had about Rwf360 million in savings allocated for that activity.

However, he said that the company (TRIOMF) would make an arrangement which would enable the farmers get the required investment portion, which they can reimburse later through milk sales.

"The investor (TRIOMF) said that we would be supplying it with milk and we will be paying back through the profits we will be making," he said adding that estimates suggested that it would take five years for them to fully settle the credit.


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