Brasserie et Limonaderies du Rwanda (Bralirwa) has secured a $25 million (about Rwf18 billion) loan from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) for expansion and to increase sourcing of maize from local farmers, according to Jonathan Hall, the beverages firm managing director.
IFC is the private sector lending arm of the World Bank.
“The loan will contribute to the expansion and upgrading of the company’s production capacity and installation of a new bottling line at the soft drinks plant in Kigali,” Hall added while speaking during the deal the signing ceremony at the firm’s head offices in Kigali on Wednesday.
Hall said part of the money will be used for construction of a waste water treatment plant and improvements in energy efficiency.
Bralirwa produces beers, including the Primus, Mützig, Amstel, Guinness and Turbo King; and soft drinks like Coca-Cola brands.
Ignace Bacyaha, the IFC resident representative for Rwanda, said the loan will be used to promote local maize production and increase household incomes of more than 5,000 small-scale farmers.
According to Bacyaha, the focus will be on building capacity of farmers to adopt modern methods of farming and helping co-operatives to operate more professionally. Under the funding, farmers will be supplied with modern seeds.
Boudewijn Haarsma, the chairman of Bralirwa, said the brewer aims to increase local sourcing of raw materials “needed for our products, supporting inclusive growth, and providing farmers with a reliable source of income.
“It will also be used to improve the value chain to reduce post-harvest losses in maize production,” he said. Post-harvest losses are currently estimated at 30 per cent.
This will also help increase the availability of quality maize grits for use in the brewing of Primus.
Bralirwa’s expansion plan has been in effect since 2012. The company has invested close to $160 million in its beverage operations in Kigali and Rubavu and irrigated maize farm in Ndego, Kayonza District.
Meanwhile, Omur Seyid, the IFC director for Eastern and Southern Africa, said the support will help boost the country’s agribusiness industry, thus contribute to efforts aimed at reducing poverty among rural households.
“We are confident the investment will help connect farmers to markets, thus securing better livelihood for them.”
According to Seyid, improving productivity in the agriculture sector while promoting inclusive growth is critical for economic development.