The ongoing Made-in-Rwanda trade show ends today. The fourth edition of the annual trade fair where local firms showcase their products and services, has gained in popularity judging by the big numbers of showgoers that visited over the weekend. Most of the visitors at the fair interviewed by Business Times said they were impressed by the products at the exhibition.
The expo is organised by the Private Sector Federation (PSF) and trade and industry ministry as part of efforts to promote and encourage people to consume products made locally. Many visitors said they were surprised by the quality of locally-produced goods at the trade fair. However, the issue of quality of some of the products also came to the fore.
Some of the products that impressed at the expo include motorcycles assembled locally by Rwanda Motorcycle Company, low-cost houses, some handicrafts, fertilisers, shoes, different types of apparels, beverages like coffee and tea, flowers from Bella and much more.
The fact that entrance was free worked for the organisers and exhibitors as multitudes thronged the Gikondo showgrounds over past six days, especially Saturday and Sunday and not even the rains could dampen the spirit of Made-in-Rwanda expo enthusiasts.
So, what else do showgoers think of the products on display at the exhibition? For Hussein Higira, the quality of Rwandan products is good as he usually buys Rwandan shoes and clothes that have always lasted long. “I call upon my friends to buy local products to support our industries.” He, added that buying imported goods is like donating money to the exporting nations, and helping them create more jobs.
Dieudonne Djibril Kwizera
The issue of quality is still a big challenge. However, we have to buy these products and support producers because they are creating jobs for local people and contributing to the country’s development.
For local industrial sector to develop and improve, it needs the support of everyone. If we don’t buy our products, we will be undermining our own efforts. However the quality of some products is still low yet the prices are high. Therefore, manufacturers should be supported by government and PSF to improve quality and broaden market reach.
Many companies lack modern equipment which affects product quality. The fact that some firms are still using manual production, it means affects their capacity to serve market needs. This is particularly true for the small industries like shoe-makers and the apparels sector. The high cost of some of the local goods could be attributed to this fact.
The more we support local industries, the more they will do better because experience is the best teacher. Besides, I can get good local coffee in Kigali, for instance, why would I go buy imported one? I would recommend my friends to buy these products because many are of good quality and can be accessed without any problem.
Many industrialists still have a lot to do to improve quality, noting that may be in three years it could be achieved. That’s why producers should collaborate and learn from developed countries and improve production processes and quality. However, people should buy the items as this means a bigger market for domestic firms and more employment opportunities in the country.
I was impressed by body creams at the expo like Aloe, Ray’s, and olive oil. I have used some of these products and I haven’t found any problems with them so far. So, I urge all Rwandans to buy local products because they are good and durable. Besides, if we don’t buy the products made in the country, who will?