The increase in the number of direct flights between Kigali and Europe is a boost to the Rwandan business community, especially those in the horticulture sector, officials have said.
The Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said, this week, that flights between Kigali and Europe increased to 9 from 3 flights per week following a rebound in economic activity.
The Director General of Rwanda Horticulture Development Authority (RHODA), Ndambe Nzaramba, said he expects this to trim cargo flight costs and significantly increase horticulture exports.
“Exporters are in the private sector but our role is to sensitise and to encourage them to be organised and benefit from economies of scale,” Ndambe said, highlighting that the progress in aviation activity is timely because Rwanda’s perishable exports needed direct flights.
He said that RHODA will focus on farmers who supply to exporters, train them in global Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), facilitate them to acquire quality seeds and also help exporters get certification.
With the absence of direct flights to Europe, Rwanda’s private sector could not compete fairly with neighbouring countries like Kenya with same products. Other problems expected to be solved are lack of cargo space and high cargo costs.
Richard Masozera, Director General of Rwanda CAA said that cargo airline is complex and requires maximum coordination from the business community or exporters to sustain cargo volumes.
“With daily flight to the Middle East and Europe, the opportunities of fresh produce to hit the European market have increased, but cargo airline needs the organisation of farmers...to sustain the volumes which can ration an airline,” he emphasized.
Nzaramba said that recently a meeting was held between RwandAir, CAA, and potential exporters and exporters were assured of cargo space. RwandAir promised to increase cargo space in its aircraft that operates the Kigali-Dubai route.