Producers and traders participating in the ongoing Made-in-Rwanda expo have called for support to access investment funds, saying the lack of capital was affecting growth of local industries and other businesses.
Claude Kayumba of Health is Wealth, an agro-processing firm, said it is hard for small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) to get loans from banks as many of them have no collateral. Kayumba added that the issue of packaging must be addressed, saying they import packaging materials from other East African countries.
He called on government and other stakeholders to support local firms interested in setting up packaging material factories to address this challenge. The problem of lack of quality packaging materials is a long-running issues that manufacturers have been complaining about for many years.
Speaking on the sidelines of the official launch of the Made-in-Rwanda expo yesterday, the miller said low production affects operations, adding that the quality of produce is also wanting.
The fourth annual Made-in-Rwanda expo is organised by the Private Sector Federation (PSF) and trade and industry ministry.
The expo, opened on November 29 at the Gikondo expo ground in Kicukiro and ends on December 5. It was officially launched yesterday.
Kayumba said these challenges and the misconception among Rwandans that local products are of poor quality were hurting growth of the country’s industrial sector and affecting development.
Fertiliser maker and vendor, ENDS Company, said it is hard to convince farmers to buy locally-produced fertiliser “because they think it is of poor quality.”
“We have had to invest in free samples for farmers, which is starting to bear fruits as more farmers are now buying our fertilisers,” said Reagan Mugoza, an official from the plant.
Mugoza called for more sensitisation and government support to help make local companies competitive locally and in the regional market.
Egide Raoul, from Nanda Limited, said government and PSF should not relent in efforts to encourage Rwandans to appreciate and buy locally-produced goods.
What buyers say
Francis Habimana, reechoed sentiments by producers, saying government support will help bring down the cost of local products and hence increase their market share.
He added that government agencies like Rwanda Standards Board should work with manufacturers, as well as SMEs to help them improve production process and quality.
“It is important that SMEs and industrialists are supported to secure affordable finance to invest in modern equipment which will help boost quality of local products. This way, more Rwandans will be confident to buy Made-in-Rwanda products and therefore help develop the industrial sector,” he said, noting that he was impressed by the different products on display at the expo.
He urged Rwandans to buy local products, saying that they are of quality and are affordable.