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67. Mayange Pigs Farmers Cooperative (MPFC)

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Coop Name: Mayange Pigs Farmers Cooperative N° of Employees: 3
City: Mayange sector, Bugesera District N° of Members: 18
Country: Rwanda Year of formation: 2009
About this coop:

A women’s co-operative in Southeastern Rwanda that rears pigs and sells piglets to local and neighboring markets.

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Southeastern Rwanda’s Mayange is one of the poorest regions in one of the poorest countries in the world. It’s an area that bears the scars of the country’s 1994 genocide, and once densely forested, now faces the present day aftermath of soil erosion and drought exacerbated by decades of logging for charcoal production. Most of Mayange’s 25,000 residents struggle to subsist on farming eroded plots of land. In 2009, an initial group of 60 women—mostly widows up to age 65 who had lost their husbands during the genocide—banded together in search of a more lucrative alternative to farming, which had earned each less than $1 a day. They also sought a form of income that wasn’t as dependent on rainfall, which had decreased and become more erratic over the decades.The group partnered with the Millenium Villages Project/Rwanda (MVP), started by economist and Columbia University professor Jeffrey Sachs, and the Los Angeles-based Pilot Light Foundation, to form a pig-rearing co-operative, one whose model called on the women to equally share the duties of breeding and raising piglets. With a $7,000 grant from the Pilot Light Foundation, MPFC built a pigsty and purchased the initial seven piglets—six female and one male. By 2011, those initial seven piglets had produced 74 piglets, all of which have been sold to local farmers and other new co-operatives, producing an alternative, less weather-dependent revenue stream than subsistence farming. MPFC’s goals for the future include increasing its number of pigs, building more pigsties, and establishing a slaughterhouse, with the ultimate objective of selling pork—which fetches a higher price than live piglets—to supermarkets as far away as Kigali, Rwanda’s capital city.

Author of this story
Ratha Tep
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