The lack of adquate carrier space to the biggest market destination of Rwanda’s fruits is hindering the exportation of the produce, according to the Rwanda Horticulture Development Agency (RHODA).
Chairperson of RHODA, Peter Muvara said that most of Rwanda’s fruit exports to Europe go through SN brussels which has limited carriers space.
“Due to this factor, Rwanda’s export potential to the international market is not fully exploited,” Muvara added.
Currently, Rwanda does not have a national cargo plane to facilitate the exportation of fruits, especially fresh produce.
However, the Ministry of agriculture has been trying to organise the farmers to facilitate them export their products.
“We don’t have dedicated cargo planes in Rwanda that facilitate the exportation but we have some from the region which include Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya,” said Richard Masozera the Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority.
Rwanda’s exports to Europe are averaging 10 tonnes of fruits per week although the country has found a new market in Dubai.
Muvara said that 10 tonnes a week is not the country’s export capacity given the total production.
RHODA also reveals that there are negotiations between Rwanda and Coimex, a clearing and forwarding company that will see Rwanda export close to 40 tonnes of total fruit production per week to Dubai.
Rwanda is targeting a tune of Rwf8.3 million as export revenue from exportations of fruits by the end of next year. The biggest export goes to the regional market, particularly Uganda and Kenya.
Muvara says that this target will be met since Rwanda has taken a comparative advantage in the production of fruits, which have a high demand on both the international and the regional market.
Rwanda has specialized in production of fruits such as pineapple, avocado, goose berry and tree tomato.
This year export revenues from fruits are estimated to rise from Rwf4.5 million in 2008 to Rwf5.7 million.
Last year total production reached 213,501 tonnes and it is expected to increase above that because it has already surpassed the strategy projections for this year.
The increase in production has been attributed to the distribution of seedlings to the farmers by the horticulture agency.
The domestic fruit consumption is still very low standing at 8 percent of the total production. However, the total investment in the horticulture sector has been cut from Rwf2.2 million invested last year to Rwf1.4 million this year.