Prime Minister Narendra Modi is currently on his three-nation Africa tour as part of India’s outreach to the resource-rich continent. With this, PM Modi has once again created history as he is the first Indian premier to visit the East African country. Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Rwanda assumes importance as both the countries are looking for penning down the several agreements in the areas of defence, dairy cooperation, leather, agriculture, and culture.(Hindustan Times)
Apart from this, a defence cooperation agreement is also expected to be signed and both countries are also looking to conclude two lines of credit, one of USD 100 million for development of industrial parks and Kigali special economic zone (SEZ), and another one for USD 100 million for agriculture and irrigation.
However, an important element of the programme is Prime minister’s visit to Rweru Model Village where he had gifted 200 cows to villagers as a contribution from India to the ‘Girinka’ scheme of Rwanda.
‘Girinka’, is a social protection scheme of the Rwandan government personally overseen by President Kagame, in which poorest families are gifted dairy cows by the government and the first female calf born to the cow is gifted to the neighbour, thus promoting brotherhood and solidarity. The cows to be gifted by India would be sourced from Rawanda.
The program also follows certain criteria in choosing who the beneficiaries should be. Very poor vulnerable families that don’t own a cow but do have land that can be used to grow grass for feeding the cows are among those who get the animal. The beneficiary should be in a position to construct an animal shed or willing to join others in community to construct a communal cowshed to be jointly used with the rest.(Zee News)
In order to control the growing rate of malnutrition and to reduce poverty and integrate livestock and crop farming Girinka was initiated by President Paul Kagame in 2006. Since then, many people have received cows through the Girinka program. By June 2016, a total of 248,566 cows had been distributed to poor households which have contributed to an increase in agricultural production in Rwanda – especially milk production and products, reduced malnutrition and increased incomes.
Prime Minister Modi was very happy gifting the cows to villagers for such a humble cause. Appreciating the Girinka Programme and President Paul Kagame’s initiative, Prime Minister Modi said that “People in India would also be pleasantly surprised to see that cows are being given importance as a means of economic empowerment in villages in faraway Rwanda”. PM Modi also spoke about the similarity in the rural life of the two countries and hoped that the Girinka Programme will help transform villages in Rwanda.
Source: Hindustan Times