July 15, 2024

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Rwanda: Zipline drones deliver pig semen in remote areas 

By Kanamugire Emmanuel

Rwanda is using drones to deliver semen to farmers for use in artificial insemination technology to facilitate farmers’ access to improved breeds and boost pig industry.

The initiative started in 2022 through a partnership between Zipline Rwanda, PRISM-Enabel project and Rwanda Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources.

So far seven Artificial Insemination Centers have been established across the country, each one producing at least 160 doses per week. 32 boars and 20 exotic sows were imported to enhance semen quality.

According to figures from Rwanda Agriculture Development and Animal Resources Board (RAB), by the end of 2023, 21,247 semen doses were produced, with 13,750 doses delivered to farmers via Zipline Drones, ensuring timely delivery.  

Semahoro Fabrice, Researcher in the Animal Husbandry Department at the Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB), hails the technology of using drones in pig semen delivery, saying that it is helping farmers to access them within a short time.

“The semen is delivered in a short time by the use of drones. In the beginning it seemed difficult because they were delivered using cars.”

Manikuzwe Providence, who is in charge of implementation of the Zipline projects in Rwanda, noted that they have reached the goal of sending more than 50 doses per day.

“We started carrying semen in 2022, and the use of drones has had a very positive effect to pig rearing. Today we reach 60-70 deliveries to different farmers a day and our drones are fast because they travel at 120 kilometers per hour,” he said.

Artificial Insemination has significantly increased piglet numbers, with 19,860 sows inseminated since 2021, resulting in approximately 158,880 genetically improved piglets.

Additionally, 365 Artificial Insemination technicians were trained, expected to inseminate 18,250 pigs monthly, Dr. Solange Uwituze, Deputy Director General in Charge of Animal Resources Research and Technology Transfer at Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Board has highlighted.

High genetic boars of Pietrain, Landrace, Camborough, Duroc, and Large White breeds were introduced for Artificial Insemination.

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