The Government and the private sector are in a new drive to boost honey production and exports.
According to the State Minister for Agriculture and Animal Resources, Tony Nsanganira, the idea is to help farmers increase productivity while they embrace value addition along value chain.
This, he said, will increase farmers competitiveness and boost the country’s honey exports.
For Rwanda to meet and satisfy market demand, beekeepers and cooperatives must ensure increased production and quality along the value chain, Nsanganira said.
Minister Nsanganira was speaking at a sensitization workshop on the new Local Competitiveness Fund (LCF) in Rustiro District last week. In June 2014, Rwanda was accredited to export honey to the European Union markets, opening business opportunities for bee farmers for as long they embraced and complied with quality standards.
The country now exports its honey to both the Middle East and European markets and to be able to fully satisfy the current market demand, Nsanganira said farmers must double their efforts.
“Farmers must pull resources and work under cooperatives to be able to meet the requirements and satisfy the current market demand,” Nsanganira said.
Rwanda’s annual honey production capacity was last year estimated at about 5000 tonnes with only 90,000 beehives.
And, according to the ministry’s strategic plan on Transformation of Agriculture phase 3 (PSTA III), honey production is expected to reach a record 8000 metric tonnes by 2018.
Meanwhile, farmers including David Mutangana, a beekeeper in Rustiro District, said poor packaging and storage facilities remain a threat to honey business across the country.
“Among the many challenges we face as farmers, include the high costs of packaging and poor storage facilities; It is therefore imperative that stakeholders take this as a priority to be able to enhance the farmer’s competiveness,” Mutangana told The New Times.
The new Fund is designed to help scale up credit to agricultural activities and boost farmer’s capacity to increase production and value addition
The fund will be implemented by the Local Administrative Entities Development Agency (LODA), and is supported by the Belgian Technical Cooperation (BTC).
Minister Nsanganira urged farmers to design bankable agricultural business projects to benefit from the fund.