Horticulture sector stakeholders seek ways of expanding exports

By Elias Hakizimana.

The flower industry in Rwanda has been growing at a low rate of about 5 per cent over the past years in terms of increased areas under flower production. The horticulture sector, especially floriculture, was identified by government as a sector that could quickly improve the country’s export revenue.

Apart from the agricultural exports body’s effort (NAEB) to encourage investment for export into the sector, the Africa Agribusiness Academy officials said last week that they want to introduce a project dubbed: “HORTINVEST” where they explained to the members the opportunities in Horticulture funding and support by identifying together the key players that include producers and processors in order to reach an export volume of products.

Officials were speaking during a round table discussion about this project whose main objectives was to have stakeholders aware of the collaboration between the HortInvest project and the Horticulture stakeholders to promote export.

Some of the AAA members following the discussions on the new project.

The theme of the Round Table was: Enhancing Horticulture sector linkages for Export.

It was found that structural collaboration with farmers, cooperatives and agribusiness entrepreneurs is not strongly embedded in Agriculture in Rwanda, reason why the Dutch HortInvest project is taking the lead to finance this starting process to assist farmers and entrepreneurs to work together for export purposes.

NAEB will play a key role in the identification of potential markets and contribute to the linkages of the two parties according to AAA-Officials.

Jean Claude Ruzibiza, the Chairman of Africa Agribusiness Academy Rwanda Chapter explained that one of the main priorities of the Rwanda Government is to support and assist such private initiatives and to help them through NAEB, Rwanda Standards Board (RSB) and other mandatory organs to promote the “Made in Rwanda” programme especially for export.

Jean Claude Ruzibiza, the Chairman of Africa Agribusiness Academy Rwanda Chapter.

In May 2018, more than 38 regional entrepreneurs from six country members of AAA attended the workshop that was the similar objectives.

“A strong relation is not built overnight and requires efforts from all involved in the sector. The Horticulture sector, and the public at large must be informed about the collaboration between the SEAD project and the key actors in the sector. This Round Table will provide an excellent opportunity to update stakeholders on the recent development and support to promote the export in the Horticulture sector and, at the same time, allows for the HortInvest project to discuss the challenges participants are facing in the Horticulture value chain,” said Farid Karama, Executive Director of African Agribusiness Academy Secretariat.

One of AAA members giving a feedback on the discussions.

According to sources, from January to September 2017, the volume of exported vegetables was over 18.98 million kilogrammes, compared to over 15.61 million kilogrammes in the same period of 2016, meaning that the quantity of exports increased by only 21.56%.

The value of exported vegetables was over $10 million from January to September 2017, against $5 million in the same period of 2016, implying an increase of 98.65 percent, and a rise in price per unit of the vegetables.

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Elias Hakizimana

Elias Hakizimana, CEO&Founder of The Inspirer Ltd,(www.rwandainspirer.com) is a professional Rwandan Journalist with Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Communication, received from University of Rwanda’s College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS) in 2014. He served various media houses in Rwanda including Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA) in 2013 and became passionate with English Online and Print Media Publications where he exercised his talent as a Freelance News Reporter for The New Times, The Independent, The Rwanda Focus, Panorama and more before he became a Self-Entrepreneur as the CEO and Founder of The Inspirer Limited in early 2017.

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