Big boost for Rwandan poultry production

Social impact agribusiness investor, AgDevCo, recently announced a US$3 million (about R43 million) debt investment in the Rwandan poultry company, Uzima Chicken.

Big boost for Rwandan poultry production

Rwanda imports approximately 150 000 day-old chicks per month from countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium and Uganda, according to Rwanda’s Ministry of Agriculture.

AgDevCo’s investment will allow Uzima Chicken, sponsored by a US-based investor, Flow Equity (which has a similar business model in Ethiopia), to produce between eight million and 10 million chicks a year.

This will in effect significantly reduce the country’s dependence on chick imports.

Chris Isaac, regional director of AgDevCo, said: “We believe Uzima Chicken can transform the poultry market in Rwanda by delivering improved birds to hundreds of thousands of households.

We have seen the model’s success in Ethiopia and are confident that, with continuing support from the Ministry of Agriculture, Uzima Chicken is well-placed to replicate that success in Rwanda.”

Uzima plans to sell day-old chicks through a network of independent distributors, who will rear the birds until they are four weeks old before selling them to smallholder farmers.

The SASSA dual breed will be produced, as it is ideal for rearing outdoors in backyard conditions, gains weight quicker than local chickens, and is three to four times more productive at laying eggs, according to the statement.

The initiative forms part of a greater plan by the Ugandan government to reduce its dependence on chick imports from other countries. In August 2016, Flow Equity secured a 25-year contract for Uganda’s 2,3 billion RWF National Hatchery, Rubirizi, at 750 million RWF per year.

Privatisation of the hatchery resulted in production increasing from 10 000 to 80 000 day-old chicks per month. The government also allocated 15ha of land in Bugersera District to the company to facilitate expansions.

The supply of day-old chicks from Rwanda’s hatcheries has increased 23% from 399 000 in 2010 to 912 000 in 2015, with Rwanda Chick representing 74% of national production.