JV to invest US$38m in establishing Rwanda’s first milk powder processing plant

RWANDA – TRIOMF East Africa, a joint venture firm owned by South African and Rwandan investors in collaboration with dairy farmers in Gicumbi District, Northern Province of Rwanda are set to establish a U$38m (Rwf37 billion) powder milk processing plant.

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 the factory with an installed capacity to process 252,000 litres per day.

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.

Construction of the plant is expected to start 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 process to establish the factory is in good progress with TRIOMF’s financing negotiations with BPR (Banque Populaire du Rwanda Limited) taking effect.

“We have the 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 and contribution from the dairy farmers of IAKIB cooperative.

Pierre-Célestin Hakizimana, the president of IAKIB the 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 the investment.

The farmers are set to get return of their investment through profits from milk sales which would take 5years to settle.

The planned factory being the first of its kind in Rwanda is set to be the largest milk-processing factor in the country and will offer a major relief to the dairy farmer

IAKIB cooperative which is made up with more than 4,000 farmers, collects 38,000 litres of milk per day and obtaining a market for 15,000 litres with the remaining being surplus with nowhere to go.

Rwanda produces more than 2.2 million litres a day, while only about 10 per cent of it gets processed (in factories), according to data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources.

Cassien Karangwa, the Director of Domestic Trade at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, said that the factory will do much in advancing Rwanda’s dairy sector, economy and improve the livelihoods of the population.

“It will reduce imports of powdered milk, and drive up Rwanda’s export revenues. It will also support job creation, increase tax revenues,” he said.

“It can also be a solution to the milk produce of the dairy farmers, not only in Gicumbi, but also in other districts of Northern and Eastern Province,” he observed.

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