East African Growers (EAG) has temporarily suspended its business operations in Rwanda citing unfavourable prices for its exports in the European market.
The Kenyan registered growers, processors, packers and exporters of vegetables, fruits and flowers has been the only company using the cold room at Kanombe International airport.
The company’s Director General for the Rwandan Unit, Gakirage Aimable, said that the move is temporary and that business will resume once the prices get better in Europe as the economy there improves.
EAG started business in Rwanda last year and had since then exported about 60 tonnes of French beans to Brussels, Belgium.
The company, which was targeting five tonnes of exports per week, had doubled its export volume to 10 tonnes per week. East African Growers main customers are Star Fruit in Brussels.
According to Gakirage, currently the firm manages to utilise only 10 hectares of the total 50 hectares it owns. He said that the area of plantation is always determined by the demand of their products.
Gakirage could not predict the time to resume business but said in a few months time.
“That is how the market trends behave, it is unpredictable,” he said on a telephone interview on yesterday.
The Minister of Agriculture, Agnes Kalibata, said that the move will distract EAG’s business but will not have a significant impact on the farmers nor the agricultural exports.
Kalibata added that EAG is currently helping farmers with avocado plantations.
The company is also challenged by lack of direct flights which contributes to stiff competition from countries with direct flights like Kenya.
The cold room at the Kanombe International airport has been empty since June.
The refrigerated facility, which was launched in May 2007 to facilitate storage of perishable exports and imports, has capacity to store 45 metric tonnes.