Gahaya Links, a leading basket weaving and exporting company is processing silk cocoons to make silk products with an intention to sell them to the American market through African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa).
Janet Nkubana the Managing Director of Gahaya Links said in an interview in Kigali yesterday that, “We target the USA because the drive was from Agoa after Rwanda qualified for category 8 along General Service Product (GSP) which allows the exportation of fabrics.”
The advancement comes after Gahaya started to produce threads from the cocoons. The development also come shortly after the Rwanda Horticulture Development Authority (Rhoda) made an investment breakthrough and started producing silk worm eggs. This will ensure steady supply of raw materials for producing silk.
According to plan, the company will start supplying both the local and international market next year, with cushions, silk earrings, scuffs and silk neckties.
“This is an exciting venture because it’s a sector that will open a new window to many Rwandans especially those in rural areas,” Nkubana, said.
However Gahaya Links management also says that the venturing into fabrics is in line with company’s export diversification drive.
The products will carry Rwandan authentic designs that have been used on baskets to brand, the tradition and Rwandan culture. Currently they are working with women in Rurindo, Nyanza, Gakenke in Northern Province.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) is calling for a concerted effort to foster greater participation of women in international trade.
An expert from Kawanda Research Station in Uganda was hired to train a bout 20 people on how to produce threads out of cocoons, and silk weaving.
Gahaya links is working closely with Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Agriculture handling the farming and cooperatives that produce cocoons.