Feed the Future Activity Signs New Partnership Agreement with Zipline Rwanda Ltd., Connecting Farmers to Animal Health Products via Drones
The new partnership with a drone delivery company, Zipline Rwanda Ltd., is helping Rwandan farmers rear better quality pigs. Cutting down on time and cost and using modern technology for artificial insemination, farmers are putting more money in their pockets.
Banner image: Zipline Rwanda signs partnership agreement with Orora Wihaze.
On October 10, 2023, the USAID-funded Feed the Future Rwanda Orora Wihaze Activity signed a partnership with Zipline Rwanda Ltd, a subsidiary of the California-based technology firm Zipline Inc. to enhance access to pig artificial insemination technology via drone delivery services for veterinary specialists in eight target districts across Rwanda.
With a robust infrastructure for designated drop off sites, drones fly and deliver product packages at high speeds, covering long distances, and navigating challenging terrains. This makes them ideal for reaching remote areas that are difficult to access by road. Previously, a farmer in Gakenke district would travel for at least three and a half hours to reach the Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board’s (RAB) pig breeding center in Muhanga district and pay $10 for the services, but now the delivery by drone takes only 20 minutes and the farmer pays $5. Not only is the delivery time tremendously cut, but the costs are also cut in half.
Since 2016, Zipline has been working with the government of Rwanda to deliver blood, medical and animal health products to several districts in Rwanda. Agrovets in any location can easily place orders for swine artificial insemination products using SMS, WhatsApp, phone call or their custom-built mobile application. As soon as an order is received, the product is packed and dispatched to the relevant location within just five to seven minutes.
A Zipline package for smallholder pig farmers is delivered by drone at a hospital courtyard.
USAID, through the Feed the Future Rwanda Orora Wihaze Activity (which translates to “Raise Animals for Self-Sufficiency”), works with local partners and the private sector actors to strengthen the animal source foods (ASF) market system to sustainably increase the availability of, access to, and consumption of ASF. Implemented by Land O’Lakes Venture37, the activity addresses constraints along the ASF value chains and prioritizes ASF consumption related social behavior change, targeting especially women of reproductive and children.
Through this agreement, Zipline will increase demand for the services by partnering with private suppliers of products and pioneering drone delivery services to new rural locations in Nyamagabe, Gakenke, Nyamasheke, Rutsiro, Kayonza, Burera, Ngororero, and Ngoma districts. According to Dennis Karamuzi, Chief of Party of Orora Wihaze: "These services will drastically improve the outcomes for smallholder farmers, who rely on high quality animal health products to support their small swine production businesses and feed the communities around them. Farmers, vets, and government stakeholders are already seeing the advantage of crossbreeding: Improved breeds of pigs are now producing an average of 12 piglets per litter, up from 5-6 piglets from local breeds which is hugely beneficial for both farmers and consumers."
Zipline’s Director of Africa Go-to-Market, Armah Daniel Blay said, "We are excited to be partnering with USAID and Land O'Lakes Venture37 for the improvement of livestock production in Rwanda. This comes against the backdrop of our successful partnership with RAB for the delivery of animal health products to several farms in Rwanda. By combining Zipline's immediate access supply service, national delivery, and real-time tracking with Orora Wihaze's commitment to strengthening ASF value chains, we hope to contribute significantly to the transformation of the overall animal husbandry system.”
About Feed the Future
Feed the Future is America's initiative to combat global hunger and poverty. It brings partners together to help some of the world’s poorest countries harness the power of agriculture and entrepreneurship to jumpstart their economies and create new opportunities. For more information, visit feedthefuture.gov.