LASER PULSE Project Launches on Milk Value Chain in RwandaKizito Nishimwe
Dr. Lamin Kassama, Professor at Alabama A&M University, USA, and Principal Investigator of the new project on “The Impact of Traditional Practice on the Quality and Safety of Post-Production Handling in the Milk Value-Chain,” funded by USAID through LASER PULSE, traveled to Rwanda from March 11th – 18th, 2023 to launch project activities. The research project is a long-standing collaboration between Alabama A&M University, the University of Rwanda (UR), University of Global Health Equity (UGHE), and the Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB) to strengthen milk collection centers (MCC)’s capacities through a risk-based controls approach. This proactive and systematic approach aimed at identifying, evaluating, and controlling food safety hazards is aligned with the Government of Rwanda’s objectives to improve the production and safety of milk, therefore alleviating the food insecurity for vulnerable categories, especially children and pregnant women.
Accompanied by Dr. Kizito Nishimwe of UR, and Dr. Eugene Niyonzima of RAB, Dr. Kassama had a chance to visit different sites and interact with various stakeholders involved in the milk value chain to gain insights into milk production, transportation, and processing systems, and the achievements by the dairy sector, but also challenges that the project will help resolve. Dr.. Kassama participated in the project launch meeting held in Kigali on Wednesday, March 15th, 2023, that gathered different stakeholders from public institutions and the private sector. The occasion was officially launched by Dr. Olivier Kamana, the Permanent Secretary of the Rwanda Ministry of Agriculture, who urged the project implementing team to work relentlessly towards establishing a national milk quality and safe program, while Rwanda aims to meet the national milk production target of 1,274,554 metric tons by 2024. He also pledged to provide all the support needed to make the project successful.
During the meeting, the project research team presented the project objectives and expected outcomes to stakeholders to effectively engage them early on. A breakout session (Picture 2) enabled the participants to review the project concept and provide feedback on the project implementation. Dr. Kasssma also visited the USAID Mission in Kigali and provided an update on the project objective and anticipated impacts on the Rwanda milk value chain. Drs. Kassama, Nishimwe, and Niyonzima met with the project survey enumerators, and reviewed and refined the survey tools prior to launching the survey. Survey tools will be used to collect data from different dairy value chain actors (i.e., farmers, transporters, milk collection centers, dairy processing plants, and dairy shops) to identify vulnerabilities within the dairy value chain to better formulate interventions.
Dr. Kassama and Dr. Armitra Jackson-Davis plan to return to Rwanda during the summer to work with the project team in implementing the research project activities. In the meantime, for additional information, please contact Dr. Lamin Kassama at email@example.com.