RWANDANyagatare District in Eastern province Rwanda has entered into a partnership with a farmers’ association in the district that will see the establishment of a US$1.32 million (Rwf1.2bn) maize milling factory.

The new facility will have an installed capacity of processing 30 tonnes of maize per day, reports The New Times.

The project, which will be executed under a public-private partnership, is expected to begin on June 1 this year and completed in June next year.

The project has already received an allocation of Rwf300 million (US$0.33m) in the current fiscal year, while an equivalent amount is planned for the next financial year, according to information from the district.

According to the district Mayor, David Claudian Mushabe, a feasibility study conducted showed that there was enough maize to ensure sustainable supply to the factory.

“We are maize farmers, and our district is the top maize producer in the country. And maize here is mainly consumed as flour, not grain.

Therefore, the logic behind the move is that maize flour should not be imported from Uganda or elsewhere yet we have maize and capacity to process it,” he said.

Mushabe added that the district was establishing mobile driers, and constructing silos as part of the efforts in addressing aflatoxin, which pushed some factories to import maize from other countries.

He also revealed that the district has also embarked on a project to construct warehouses that will ensure quality storage of the farmers produce.

Marie Jeanne Ntirenganya, president of KABITADU, a cooperative of maize farmers in Nyagatare District, said that the investment will also provide a ready market for their produce.

She highlighted market access as a major challenge for farmers in the region citing a previous incidence where a consignment of 10 tonnes of maize was rejected under the pretext of lack of storage.

Nyagatare District is among the leading maize producing regions in Rwanda, according to Seasonal Agricultural Survey 2018 Annual Report released in December 2018 by the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR).

Maize occupied more than 47,000 hectares in Nyagatare District, or 15 per cent of over 296,000 hectares on which maize was grown at the national level in 2018 and at least two times more than those in other districts.

Overall, the average maize yield per hectare in Rwanda was estimated to be 1.3 tonnes, figures from the NISR report show.