Isaiah Rugirababiri has been a pig farmer for nearly three years. To fertilize his females, he must travel 9 kilometers to hire a male who can mate with his sow.
Since January 2022, drones have been delivering pig semen to farmers in rural areas. The company behind this initiative is called Zipline. Its objective is to overcome the difficulties of transporting pig semen by road as pig semen is extremely fragile, sensitive to temperature changes and has a very short shelf life. Isaiah seems relieved.
“What motivated me to use this drone transported pig semen is that it is from a good breed which will increase my production. With this method, I no longer have to worry as much as before the quality and the breed that I have chosen” he says.
Each farmer pays between 6.5 and 10 US dollars to inseminate a female pig. This sum contributes to the purchase of semen and the service provided by the veterinarian. The transport of the bumblebee is ensured by the Rwandan government which within the framework of this program wants to increase the productivity of the cattle in order to food self-sufficiency.
The Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Board (RAB) has set a goal to inseminate more than 150,000 pigs per year across the country, using drones. This technology has made it possible to reduce the difficulties associated with natural mating with wild boar.
Veterinarians praise artificial insemination because it also reduces the risk of transmission of swine fever and other diseases between farms.
Additionally, through Zipline, farmers can receive timely, reliable and temperature-controlled agricultural inputs. Rwanda has an estimated population of 1.8 million pigs, according to RAB, and aims to double that figure by 2030 as demand continues to grow.