RWANDA – Inyange Industries, one of the leading food processing companies in Rwanda is seeking to invest US$20.8 million to set up a milk powder plant in Nyagatare District, Northern Rwanda.

The proposed plant, according to its parent company Crystal Ventures Ltd (CVL) will have a processing capacity of 500,000 litres of milk a day producing 14,000 tonnes of milk powder and 5,460 tonnes of fat per year.

Of the projected investment cost, 72 per cent will be spent on machinery and 28 per cent on land acquisition and construction.

Production is expected to commence by the first quarter of 2022 with the plant first operating at 40 per cent capacity before upgrading to 80 per cent in five years.

“A powder milk plant would absorb that extra milk and transform it into powder that can be kept for long and can be used to make extra products.”

The investment comes at an opportune time following the recent announcement by TRIOMF East Africa, a joint venture firm owned by South African and Rwandan investors, that they have postponed their plan of constructing US$37 million milk powder plat in Gicumbi District.

The planned facility with an installed capacity to process 252,000 litres of milk per day, was expected to commence construction by the end of last year and be completed within a year’s time.

However due to financial constraints, dairy farmers from the Northern part of the country were left a disappointed lot as they were looking forward to the ready market for their milk.

But with the pipe-lined investment by Inyange, hopes have been rekindled with CVL indicating that the national milk collection system, which is built around Milk Collection Centres (MCCs) especially in Eastern and Northern provinces, has matured enough and is capable of supplying the required volumes of raw milk to sustain a milk powder plant.

“The supply of raw material to the plant is guaranteed and supply will seamlessly adjust to demand levels,” the firm said.

The proposed factory is set to benefit about 25,000 farmers and their families by disbursing an average of about Rwf18 billion (US$18m) per year, thus improving their welfare.

It will also create opportunity for various small-scale entrepreneurs in the milk value chain such as producers of ice cream, flavoured milk, yoghurt, infant formula and confectionaries, and contribute towards fighting malnutrition by supplying inputs for the production of fortified products.

On the significance of the plant, the Minister for Agriculture and Animal Resources, Gerardine Mukeshimana, said it would be a very important investment in the livestock sector, and for the economy at large.

“At the moment, farmers produce a lot of milk, especially during the rainy season, which is not sold or marketed. Therefore, a powder milk plant would absorb that extra milk and transform it into powder that can be kept for long and can be used to make extra products,” she said.

Rwanda produces 2.2 million litres of milk per day. Yet, only an estimated 10 per cent of this is processed into products like cheese and yogurts among others.

This means there’s a lot of milk that goes to waste, a loss the proposed plant could help eliminate as it bolsters domestic manufacturing.

With the new plant, CVL is eyeing regional markets, which could be untenable with fresh milk.

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