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Profiting from pigs in Rwanda: Improving people’s lives and livelihoods through more productive pig farming        

  • Research Project Location: Rwanda
  • Timeframe: May 2022 - 2025
  • Funding: USAID

Principal Investigator (PI) and lead institution

  • Emily Ouma, International Livestock Research Institute, ILRI

Co-PI and collaborator institutions

  • University of Rwanda

  • Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board, RAB

  • Land O’Lakes Venture37, Orora Wihaze Activity

  • Rwanda Pig Farmers Association


The pig value chain in Rwanda has high potential but faces production and market-related constraints related to reproduction, nutrition, husbandry practices, marketing, and processing. Integrating interventions to improve herd health, feeding, genetics, and market linkages can overcome these constraints and lead to a more productive pig sector.

Project Goal & Objectives

The overarching goals of the project are to improve the livelihoods of smallholder pig producers, in a sustainable manner, through increased productivity and incomes. Specific objectives are to:

  • Develop, pilot, and evaluate an integrated pig husbandry package comprising herd health, feeds and appropriate pig feeding and improved pig genetics
  • Develop, pilot, and evaluate collective action business models for women and men pig farmers to improve access to inputs and services, and to markets.
  • Support the national system to improve pig genetics
  • Support the Centers of Excellence in development of an outreach program on pig keeping


The pig sector in Rwanda has grown considerably in the last decade, driven by a strong, increasing demand for both domestic and export pork. The Livestock Master Plan for Rwanda (2017/2018 to 2021/2022) identifies the pig value chain as one of four key livestock value chains with the potential for high productivity increase and ability to contribute to national economic development objectives, including food and nutrition security.

The rural poor keep pigs to diversify their risks and improve livelihood security. Pigs also serve as a source of cash in times of need, and in this regard can be particularly important to women. The contribution of pig meat to protein nutrition is very high. In Rwanda, pig farming is dominated by smallholders rearing one or two sows in their backyards and practicing low-input systems. Despite its high potential, particularly for smallholders, the pig value chain faces critical production and market related constraints.


The project will address constraints by focusing on integrated productivity-enhancing and market linkage interventions that meet the needs and preferences of pig keepers.  Through a random phased-in design, the project will be implemented via four interlinked objectives. Gender components are integrated into all objectives. Local capacity development, particularly of the National Agricultural Research and Education Systems and private sector, as well as knowledge exchange (including beyond Rwanda), are key components of the project. The strategic partnerships with the national partners and other private sector and “next users,” such as artificial insemination businesses, pig feed millers and feed processors, coupled with capacity development interventions are expected to facilitate investment from partners to take innovations to scale.


The project will be implemented in the Gakenke and Nyamagabe districts of Rwanda, representing the Northern and Southern provinces respectively, where most pig farmers are located.

Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems is part of Feed the Future

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This work was funded in whole or part by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau for Resilience and Food Security under Agreement # AID-OAA-L-15-00003 as part of Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems.  Additional funding was received from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation OPP#1175487.  Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed here are those of the authors alone.