Local horticulture exporter gets global certification for standards

Local horticulture exporter, Nature Fresh Foods export has received the global certification for meeting agricultural best practices and standards.
French beans are among produce exported by Nature Fresh Foods that have got certified. / Courtesy.
French beans are among produce exported by Nature Fresh Foods that have got certified. / Courtesy.

Local horticulture exporter, Nature Fresh Foods export has received the global certification for meeting agricultural best practices and standards.

With GLOBALG.A.P certification, the firm will now find it easier to export its produce across the world without any limitations. The GLOBALG.A.P stamp of standards is global acknowledgement that Nature Fresh Foods meets Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), which gives the exporter an easy entry into new market and increases competitiveness.

It becomes the second Rwandan horticulture firm to receive the certification after Garden Fresh.

Without such reassurance, farmers and exporters may be denied access to some markets, said Ben Mugisha, the founder and CEO of Nature Fresh Foods.

He added that for any firm that wants to engage in global horticulture trade, the certification is a must-have.

Mugisha added that the certification will give them a competitive advantage, enabling the company to penetrate more international markets.

“This certification is highly regarded as a very reliable standard for demonstrating on-farm food safety and sustainability. Therefore, by complying with the GlobalG.A.P requirements, producers are assured that their products can enter any market across the globe,” he said.

Nature Fresh Foods is one of Rwanda’s main exporters of horticulture products, exporting to the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France and Belgium. “Previously, when we didn’t have this standards certification, the company was always struggling to get reliable customers,” Mugisha said after receiving the certificate.

Of the vegetables processed and exported by Nature Fresh Foods, three products were certified – beans, chillies and aubergine grown at a farm in Bugesera District.

Pascal Twahirwa, a horticulture expert and farmer based in Bugesera, called the certificate a “market tool” that will create confidence among buyers to trust Rwandan horticulture exports.

Horticulture is a priority industry seen as a ‘quick win’ sector that could help improve the country’s foreign exchange earnings in the short to medium-term. Rwanda is counting on the sector to fetch at least $140 million (about Rwf105 billion) in export returns annually by 2020.

Experts say the sector has potential to help diversify the country’s exports and boost its self-reliance drive. The plan is to focus on French beans and peas, horticulture specialties, including baby corn, chilli, mini leek, African eggplants and mushrooms.

The national agricultural Export Board (NAEB) is also encouraging the private sector to invest in exotic fruits growing, especially apples, bananas, passion fruits, avocados, as well as flower growing.

More about the certification

GLOBALG.A.P is only given to agro-exporters who exhibit high standards and adhere to global standards.

It is also a reassurance that the exporter has reached accepted levels of safety and quality and those exports have been produced sustainably, respecting the health, safety and welfare of workers, the environment, and in consideration of animal welfare.

He thanked NAEB for encouraging him to consider product certification, and Development Bank of Rwanda “for the financial support through the Export Guarantee Facility (EGF).