A group of African Diaspora based in the US has expressed interest in investing in Rwanda’s agriculture sector.
The 10-man delegation that was in the country this week, met the Minister of State for Agriculture, Tony Nsanganira, on Wednesday at the ministry head offices, where they discussed opportunities in sericulture, fish farming, fruit processing, agro-export business, and animal feeds production.
Nsanganira told the delegation that government was keen to partner with investors in floriculture projects like the Gishwari flower park in Rwamagana District, where the government has already secured 100 hectares of land for production of cut roses targeting the export market. Of these, about 35 hectares are being developed under the pilot phase of the project that is expected to start flower exports soon.
The minister also noted that there is also huge potential for horticulture-oriented businesses, ranging from growing of vegetables such as French beans, snow peas, chillies, okra, hot pepper, to fruits like avocado, bananas, passion fruits, tamarillo, and spices including ginger, and turmeric.
About 80 per cent of the identified production zones are within 100km of the Kigali International Airport, Nsanganira noted.
He added that there is an opportunity to produce vegetable seeds locally, saying there is already a seed processing plant in the Kigali Special Economic Zone in Nyandungu sector, Gasabo District.
In addition, a 10-hectare piece of land is available for investors in the Kigali Special Economic Zone, where the Kigali Wholesale Market for Fresh Produce will be set up. The project’s feasibility studies and architectural designs have already been completed, according to officials, he added.
“We also have a lot of opportunities in agro-processing to add value to Rwanda’s vast produce that is currently being exported as primary products,” he said.
The horticulture sector has huge potential to increase Rwanda’s export volumes and revenue.
He added that the government is developing basic infrastructure to facilitate businesses and improve the investment environment.
The Minister said that there are opportunities in the manufacture of packaging materials.
Rwanda producers import some of the packaging materials they use, which increases the cost of doing business.
The head of the delegation, Dr Harnet Bokrezion, who is also a market entry strategist at Africa Business Jumpstart, said they will work with stakeholders to identify investment opportunities, adding they will make follow ups with experts before deciding on the areas in which to invest.
Nsanganira urged the delegation to invest in export of traditional export crops such as tea, as well as in the livestock sector, particularly poultry, piggery and fisheries.
The agriculture sector is expected to grow by over 8 per cent, from 7 per cent presently. The sector employs more than 72 per cent of the Rwandan population. It contributed 33 per cent to GDP growth during the first quarter of the year.
Government seeks to increase exports by 28 per cent annually by 2018 under the second phase of the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS II).