The Government has leased its Rubirizi National Hatchery to Flow Equity, an American firm, at Rwf750 million ( ($943,875) for 25 years.
The decision, announced after last week's Cabinet meeting, is aimed at revamping the facilities to increase productivity that, in return, would reduce import bill on chicken and eggs. The decision comes five years after the Government upgraded the facility to modern level at a total budget of Rwf2.3 billion and had sought to increase the eggs production to 100,000 per month.
Explaining the decision, yesterday, Tony Nsanganira, the state minister for agriculture, described the move as timely and profitable for government, which not only would enhance the spirit of remaining a facilitator but also create jobs.
"There were many attempts to have the Rubirizi hatchery privatised, but the recent one was very successful and it falls in line with the government policy of surrendering businesses to members of the private sector," he told The New Times.
"Part of the agreement we managed to settle is that they will revamp the existing facilities to enhance production capacity and work more closely with small-holder farmers. We have also agreed that the factory will employ nationals to create more jobs on the market," he said.
Nsanganira said that, under the deal, the Government would also allocate 15 hectares of land in Bugesera District to the company to facilitate their expansion and provide wider avenues for suppliers. According to the minister, the company, which will operate under the name of Uzima Chicken Ltd, will be paying Rwf30 million per year for a period of 25 years.
The minister said after the period, the Government will decide whether to renew the lease or retake over the assets.
In a brief interview with The New Times, one of the company's partners, Joshua Rugema, said their business - which has branches in Ethiopia and Northern America - aims to not only boost the production rate of hatchery but also make prices of chicken products affordable. "In a drive to reduce imports of chicks, on top of increasing production, we shall also seek to improve quality of the products," he said.
Rwanda produced more than 16,000 tonnes of poultry meat and 6,973 tonnes of eggs per annum in 2014, according to statistics from Rwanda Agriculture Board.
By 2011, the Government had been importing two million eggs per year, to produce between 6,000 and 1,000 chicks per month compared to national demand of 40,000 per month.