Rwanda’s horticulture exports increased by from $5 million in 2005 to $25 million in 2018, occasioned by new products on the market, according to data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal resources.
Gerardrine Mukeshimana, the Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources told The New Times that in 2018, vegetables generated $12.9 million in foreign exchange revenues while fruits shipped in $7.8 million and flowers $4.1 million.
This reflects a significant rise compared to the previous year’s exports when vegetables generated more than $11 million, fruits$4.58 million; while flowers generated 1.24 million.
The country’s horticulture exports are dominated by onion, fresh beans, fresh peas, tomato, cabbage, carrots, cucumber, eggplants, French bean, pepper, and mushrooms.
Others are chili, snow peas, flowers, broccoli, macadamia, avocado, and passion fruits.
The minister said that new products in addition to improved farming practices characterised increased capacity of cold chain facilities (collection centre, park house, cold trucks and cold room).
Diego Twahirwa, an agripreneur told The New Times that French beans and chili are among the top horticulture export for Rwanda.
He said they are challenged by the limited cargo space in planes.
The country solely relies on air to transport its horticulture exports to UK and Europe.
Government forecast shows that the country will generate an annual export revenue of $130 million from horticulture by 2024.
The government is betting on the 200 hectare Gashora vegetable production project as promoting contract farming to boost horticulture exports.
The limited land for commercial production and limited number of investors in the horticulture are some of the challenges that have been cited in the sector.