A Danish company has announced plans to set up a plant in Kigali to make Oxo-biodegradable packaging materials.
Field Advice APS, manufacturers of food packaging materials, is currently carrying out feasibility study to set up a factory in Kigali Special Economic Zone.
It is not yet clear how much the company will sink into the project, although some sources intimated to this paper it could range between $3 million (Rwf1.9 billion) and $5 million (Rwf3.2 billion).
Mark Remmy, the company’s general manager, said the move is in line with their trade plan to expand to the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States.
“We plan to have our factory operational in Kigali Economic Zone by January 2014 if all goes as planned. Rwanda is one the fastest growing economies in Africa, and as investors, we must be there,” he said.
Remmy said they will be shipping the production machines to Kigali as soon as the licensing and related paperwork is concluded.
Robert Muhizi, the division manager in charge of manufacturing in the trade at Rwanda Development Board, said they are facilitating the company to get started by next month.
Muhizi said the structure to operate from is already in place at the Special Economic Zone, adding that the sample materials presented were found to meet the required environmental standards.
Burden of scarcity
Lack of locally produced packaging materials has continued to affect local producers, especially exporters, as they continue to import expensive materials for packaging.
Expensive packaging materials means an increase in the cost of production, and this affects the price of the finished goods, putting local traders at a competitive disadvantage on the regional and international markets.
Traders say that in banning the use of plastic bags by the government eight years ago, there was no sustainable alternative devised, and while local traders cannot dare pack their products in plastic bags, some products packed in the banned bags from regional countries are still sneaked into shelves of various grocery stores in Kigali.
Warda Umuringa, who owns Umuringa Supermarket in Kisementi, said lack of locally made packaging products is a business hindrance.
“I gave up snacks business because of lack of affordable packaging materials. This could come as a relief if the company produces transparent packaging materials,” she said.
Field Advice APS produces the same products in Europe and the US.