While my team spent much of their time going around the country and talking to farmers and institutions, I had a lot of meetings and events in Kigali and apart from the excursion to the lake on Wednesday, I didn’t have time to get out of the capital more than on Saturday, when I met up with part of my team who were already out talking to dairy farmers. One of the areas that we are looking at is how to sustainably and viably balance the needs of a growing livestock sector with the needs of other crop sectors with limited land available. It’s a challenge that many countries are likely to face in the coming years given the increasing demand for livestock products that come with income increases. But it was inspiring to hear the stories from the farmers we met of how getting a cow changed their lives and how, as their little herd grew, they were able to improve their housing, purchase health insurance, and send their children to higher education. Knowing the hard work and determination it takes to keep livestock, I was really impressed with the achievements of these dairy farmers!
These last pics are from a dairy cooperative and several of the farmers we met were part of this cooperative. The top and the bottom picture demonstrate different types of ttansport used for milk collection – obviously the difference in efficiency is enormous. The little sleeping calf was a new addition to one farmer’s herd, only seven days old.