The Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry (MINAGRI) has said that households that were supposed to get cow from Girinka by end of December last year did not get them due to disease outbreak.
The phase out period had been set for December and Minagri attributes failure to meet the deadline for phasing out One Cow One Family Program – Girinka to foot-and-mouth disease that affected the Eastern Province.
Cases of foot and mouth disease were reported in Nyagatare district in November 2017 after 13 cows were marked with the disease.
The incident occurred while government was preparing to give out the last cows in the program which was supposed to be concluded, according to earlier reports from Minagri.
According to statistics from Rwanda Agricultural Board (RAB), since 2006 when the first Girinka cow was given out, 304,385 cows have been distributed against 350,000 that were expected to be given out by December 2017.
Part of the remaining cows is from a total of 1500 cows that were supposed to be distributed to Girinka beneficiaries by six Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) such as Send a Cow Rwanda, Heifer International, DUHAMIC ADRI, Rwanda Veterinary Council, APCT and Rwanda Development Organization (RDO).
In May last year, the six organizations signed Rwf1 billion deal with MINAGRI to buy and distribute 1500 cows to poor households in all 30 districts of the country.
The money was a donation of Private Sector Federation (PSF) members. It was pledged in December 2016 during a #Meetthepresident party at Kigali Convention Centre.
“Ninety percent of all those cows have already been given out to beneficiaries and some of them have even started multiplying,” Dr. Théogène Rutagwenda, the Director General for Animal Resources at Minagri told KT Press.
While those NGOs were tasked to give out the cows in three months starting from May 2017, Rutagwenda said they encountered the problem of livestock quarantine in Eastern Province.
“Quarantine was imposed due to a foot-and-mouth disease in Eastern Province, yet the remaining cows were destined to districts of the same province,” he said, adding that the cows were purchased, but their distribution will only proceed if the quarantine is lifted.
“There is hope that within a week, the quarantine is going to be lifted and once lifted those cows will immediately be distributed to beneficiaries,” Rutagwenda said.
Since May last year up to date, only 20,000 cows have been given out, but Dr Rutagwenda said they would have met the deadline that was set earlier if the foot-and-mouth disease had not interfered.