RWANDA – A new fish feed factory is being set up in Rwamagana District in the Eastern Province to locally avail quality fish feed at lower prices.
Themistocles Munyagenyo, a fish businessman is the investor behind the project. He anticipates the factory to be complete and fully operational in February this year.
He also revealed to The New Times that RWF1.2 billion has been invested into this facility and that it will have the capacity to produce 40 tonnes of fish feed on a daily basis.
Fish production in Rwanda has been on an upward trend in the past few years. Fish production in Rwanda slightly increased from 41,664 tonnes in 2021 to 43,560 tonnes in 2022, according to a report by the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources.
4,000 tonnes of fish were produced from fish farming during 2022, according to data from the ministry.
Due to a shortage of supply and high costs, fish farmers have had limited access to quality fish feed for quite a while.
As fish feed is an essential component in fish farming and aquaculture as a whole, factors negatively affecting fish farming also prove detrimental to the entire sector.
As a result of the high prices and shortage in fish feed, some farmers resorted to importing the feed to address the gap between the demand and what is being locally produced by the feed factories in the country.
A fish farmer in Karongi district with a total of 30,000 fish in his ponds revealed to The New Times that he and other fish farmers import protein feed from India and Zambia, which costs about Rwf1,860 to Rwf2,220 a kilogram. They expressed that such costs are very high.
“Fish feed takes the largest portion of my cost of production, up to 70% of it. I use 50 kilograms on a daily basis to feed my fish,” he said.
The higher cost of feeds translate to higher fish prices which limits both production and consumption of fish.
Rwanda has per capita fish consumption of 2.5 kilograms, according to a 2018 independent study by the Netherlands-based Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation at the Wageningen University & Research.
This is far below the 2018 global average of 20.5 kilograms per capita, the sub-Saharan Africa average of 10 kilograms per capita as reported by the FAO in 2018.
Even the country’s neighbors Burundi (3.6 kilograms), Tanzania (8 kilograms), and Uganda (10 kilograms) consume significantly higher amounts of fish.
Once fully operational, the new facility may help in lowering feed cost and in turn stimulate higher production and consumption of fish in the country.
“This factory will have a production capacity of 40 tonnes on a daily basis. Personally, I am a fish farmer and the information I have is that our daily demand for fish feeds does not go beyond 20 tonnes. Therefore, we will meet our demand and even have a surplus to export to other countries,” Munyagenyo said.
He revealed that the fish feed his factory will produce will be sold at a range of RWF1,150 to RWF1,600 per kilogram with the price varying depending on the fish’s stage of growth.
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