As National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA) continues to work hard and ensure that more Research and Development (R&D) products are developed, it calls upon interested partners to take over the developed products, engage in mass production towards commercialization. Over the past years, NIRDA has engaged in the development of more products through the Huye Based Research and Development (R&D) department, to address issues faced by industries. However, as a government entity, it is not involved directly in business and needs private investors to take over the product and start mass production hence taking the products to the market for consumers. The recent products include Made-in-Rwanda starter culture (Umusemburo) for fermentation of banana based alcoholic beverages and bioethanol and hand sanitizer products. The products were developed under the funding of the National Council for Science and Technology (NCST), the funding that sought to support research and innovations that address issues affecting the communities. The industrial development agency also has more than 10 products including pharmaceutical ones which could be on the market but are yet to be commercialized, according to the officials. They include Phytomedicines such as Cosmetic and Pharmaceutical Industries, Herbal teas & Essential oils, biscuits, Mosquito repellent, and Fertilizers. Phytomedicines include Calendurar- a healing and powerful anti-inflammatory ointment drug used to treat burns, infected wounds, and skin irritation. There is also Batankor syrup that is used to treat asthma, bronchitis, anti-inflammatory, coughs, and acute and chronic infections of the respiratory tract, Tembatembe, Rusendina from Capsicum frutescens- An anti-inflammatory drug used to treat skin irritations. Others are Tusinkor from Eucalyptus globilus, Umuravumboide from Tedradenia riparia, Castamibe from Syzigium guinea, and biopesticides among others. The cosmetic products include Aloe vera-based cosmetics, Bioethanol & Hand sanitizer, Mosquito repellent products. According to Dr. Chrisitian Sekomo Birame, NIRDA’s Director General, the institution wants to work with private companies to involve in large scale production and take the products on the market. “What we are doing is to engage the private sector players to take over the developed research and development products, involve in their mass production and commercialize them,” said “Ours is to carry out research and come up with products that address issues affecting the local industry. As we are not a profit-making company and we don’t engage directly in business, it is up to the private sector to take over the developed products and commercialize them,” he added. According to the officials, the developed products sought to address issues affecting the local industry development and this could only be possible through technology transfer to the private sector. For instance, the developed starter culture could help the country save over Rwf3 billion the country pays to import yeast used in the production of banana based alcoholic beverages, according to Dr. Olivier Kamana, Head of the Applied Research and Development and Foresight Incubation Department at NIRDA. “The locally made starter culture will also ensure the quality and consistency of Banana Based Alcoholic Beverages,” he said. “The produced starter culture will change the Banana Based Alcoholic Beverages industry across the country. At least 45 per cent of the agro-processing industry add value to the banana crop and 98 per cent of them produce Banana Based Alcoholic Beverages,” Kamana noted. Particularly, officials said, the production technology of local banana beer (Urwagwa) is still largely using traditional methods, sometimes leading to poor quality of the product, and limiting competitiveness. Various studies have highlighted food safety concerns such as non-standardized approaches that may have adverse effects on public health. Local production of low-cost and effective starter culture for banana beer production will improve the product quality, increase technology efficiency and economic benefits, thus enhancing the competitiveness of the Banana Value chain. Technology transfer and commercial production of the starter culture for banana beer will bring about a host of job opportunities across the whole Banana Value chain.” The starter culture exhibited a good fermentation performance compared to other commercial yeasts, thus constituting an alternative low-cost and locally produced solution for producing high-quality urwagwa. Bioethanol and hand sanitizer products developed & transferred to a private company Funded by National Council for Science and Technology (NCST) under the Special Collaborative Research Grant to address COVID 19 Pandemic, NIRDA developed and produced Bioethanol and Aloe vera gel-based hand sanitizer products from locally available raw materials to respond to hygienic issues. The project was implemented through three different sub-activities namely, Bioethanol production from sugar cane molasses using Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Aloe vera gel-base hand sanitizer production as well as Technology acquisition and knowledge transfer to the private sector. Part of the funding was used to acquire a bioethanol distillation Unit which was installed at NIRDA Huye Research Centre and used in the production of both products. Following the successful product development, MEDTRAA Ltd a local private company engaged in herbal medicine production took over the equipment and started large scale production of bio ethanol and Aloe vera based hand sanitizers. According to Abdul Haman Barutwanayo, MEDTRAA Ltd Managing Director, the company was grateful to NIRDA for the donated equipment and transferred technology. “We are happy that we were given the production unity that is up and running plus the developed products, this is a huge support and we are so grateful. We have started mass production and we are optimistic that our products will soon hit the market,” he said. The products will be on the mark soon after the authorization of competent authorities, he said. Bioethanol’s purity of 95 percent was produced from fermented sugarcane molasses of 12 per cent alcohol content. Officials also said that NIRDA was working on commercialization guidelines that will be used to commercialize its R&D products.