When Ben Mugisha talks about his export business, his passion and enthusiasm comes out unhidden.
Mugisha is the founder and CEO of Nature Fresh Foods Ltd., which has been exporting vegetables since 2001 to the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, France and Belgium- although mainly to the United Kingdom. Among the vegetables packaged and exported by Nature Fresh Foods is hot pepper, green and bullet chillies, bitter gourd, okra, sweet potatoes, Apple banana and green bananas (Matooke). Mugisha also exports garlic which he imports from neighbouring Tanzania before exporting to Europe as it is in low supply in Rwanda. In the near future he intends to export sugar cane and dry beans.
In a bid to expand his business, Mugisha decided to take advantage of the grant matching facility product under EGF in 2016. “Previously I would only export up to 3 tonnes per week but after working with BRD on the grant matching facility, today I export upto 30 tonnes per month. The grant matching facility has been beneficial for me to access new markets especially in attaining international certificates which could cost as much as 100,000 US dollars,” Mugisha explained.
Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) and Global Good Agricultural Practices (GLOBAL GAP)are some of the important documents required by exporters to grow their businesses. Mugisha is eyeing the German market next and wants to vary the export products to the United Kingdom once he has obtained HACCP and the Global GAP certification. “There is a great demand for Rwandan products in Germany but once when I approached them to supply the products, they declined to work with us because we did not have the Global GAP certification. Once I have obtained the certifications with the help of BRF, I will be exporting more than 20 tonnes of fresh Rwandan produce per week and this time around I will export to Germany,” Mugisha added.
Through the grant matching facility, Ben has contracted a professional consultant to develop the company’s 5 year strategic plan, develop an in-house quality management system and office financial management system. The consultant also advises Ben on strategic management decisions when required.
With the substantial support from the Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD) under the EGF, Mugisha and other Rwandan exporters are now keen to venture out into new markets. This is expected to reduce Rwanda’s trade deficit and boost Made in Rwanda brand in the international market.
N.B: This is a sponsored Article by BRD