The Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) is setting up quality infrastructure for the cold chain system in Kigalis Special Economic Zone as part of efforts to curb fish post-harvest losses.
Dr Wilson Rutaganira, the aquaculture and fisheries programme coordinator at Rab, said the infrastructure, which includes a cold room, containerised flakes and tanks, and ice melting machines, were also recently set up in Musanze and Rwamagana districts to address fishermen’s challenges, reports NewTimes.
The same is to be set up early next year at Kivu Lake to serve about 30 cooperatives of fishermen there, he said.
The infrastructure can preserve 30 tonnes of fish per day, according to Rab.
Rutaganira was responding to fish farmers who said they were making losses due to several challenges, including lack of an established cold chain system to handle fish from the country’s lakes.
Hawa Mukamana, a fish dealer in Kigali City market, said modern and appropriate fish processing and product development is difficult to them due to a myriad of challenges:
The only fish processing methods in use are traditional smoking and sun drying on lake beaches. The small amount of fish caught in Rwanda’s lakes is all sold right at the lake side with nothing left to take to urban centres to avoid making losses as it gets bad due to lack of preservation mechanisms.
Figures indicate that, currently, Rwanda imports 15,000 tonnes of fresh fish and another 15,000 of smocked fish every year, worth an estimated $10 million.