François Bikorimana started poultry farming in 2012.
His farm has about 4,500 layers, producing about 3,600 eggs per day. He sells each egg at Rwf70.
He said he realised that poultry farming with no technologies, processing or value addition was not rewarding enough.
As a result, he later expanded his business to include production and sale of packaged chicken meat.
Bikorimana is the Managing Director of Irisa Innovative Ltd, a company dealing in poultry products in Rwamagana District, Eastern Province.
He presented his project to Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) – an International NGO,which supported it and promised to help him get modern equipment to process chicken meat.
He is one of the beneficiaries of GAIN’s Marketplace for Nutritious Foods Project, designed to strengthen networks, foster innovations and provide investment to bring affordable nutritious foods to the market.
GAIN gave him a $100,000 (about Rwf87 million) grant, he has so far received 80 per cent of the grant in first disbursement.
“This support will help me take quality, well-prepared and packaged chicken meat to the market,” he said last week, at a workshop in Kigali to explore ways to develop the agribusiness sector.
He added that he is seeking a standards mark from Rwanda Standards Board to be able to access all the markets in Rwanda.
His target is to start with 2,000 chickens.
The production will increase as time goes by and based on demand, he said, noting that he expects to start production within the next two months.
However, he expressed concern over expensive chicken feeds.
Feeds cost Rwf320 a kilogramme. One bird eats about 100 grammes per day.
Jean Claude Nzeyimana, the manager of Top Great Lakes Fish Business, that practices farming around Kivu Lake in Karongi District, said that they have been capturing about 80 kilogrammes of sardine per day and selling a kilogramme at between Rwf1,000 and Rwf1,500 at the local market.
Yet, a kilogramme of sardine (fish) flour is about Rwf10,000.
It takes them about five days to dry fishlings.
But he expressed optimism that they will be able to produce required standard fish flour after GAIN provided him with $77,000 modern equipment.
“The equipment will be able to properly dry 500 kilogrammes of sardine in an hour and process its flour and package it in different sized-packages,” he said.
This would bring down flour price from Rwf10,000 to Rwf7,000 to make it more affordable, he said.
Jean Bosco Kazaroho, the GAIN’s Marketplace for Nutritious Foods Project Manager, said the project provided beneficiary businesses with training in planning and product development as well as bookkeeping, financial management, food quality and safety management.
The project supports entrepreneurs mainly those engaged in food value chain or processing farming products including meat, eggs, fish, legumes, vegetables, fruits and composite flour.
GAIN officially started working in Rwanda in January, 2016.
Kazaroho said, in total, the project has provided investment grant to a total of 10 companies that proved to meet the standards of its project.
Support to a beneficiary company ranges from $10,000 to $125,000.
So far, about $650,000 (about Rwf530 million) has been allocated to the development of food processing businesses, according to officials.
“That support helps the companies to make products that meet quality standards.
Unless you are not sensible, you can not take unhygienic and sub-standard food to people because it can cause more problems to their health, ” he said.