Belgium chain stores have started stocking French beans from Rwanda, a move that has seen the country export six tonnes in the last two weeks.
Aimablé Gakirage, Managing Director of East African Growers (EAG) Rwanda, said Star Fruit, a shop in Belgium, is distributing the Rwandan French beans. With help from EAG Kenya, the parent company, these French beans have been introduced to Rwanda.
EAG has five hectares of plantations in the Rwamagena Eastern region. Seeds were imported from the United States. This type of French bean is different from the local product as it is string-less with no hard coats.
Gakirage, a Rwandan who has worked in the horticulture industry for 20 years in Kenya, said this is the first export in the initial five hectares have the capacity to produce six tonnes per hectare. He said EAG is aiming to produce 15 tonnes per week.
The company provides input on approved seeds and fertilisers and trains farmers in different agricultural practices.
Gakirage said 100 people have been trained in good agricultural practices and international quality standards.
He said the company’s plan is to diversify exports to snow peas, cherries, baby corns, salad onions, leeks, baby carrots, courgettes, Japanese plum, passion fruits, apples and bananas.
“It was successful in Kenya where they export 200 tonnes of assorted vegetables, fruits and flowers to Europe, Middle East and Asia and I am very confident that it’s viable in Rwanda,” he said, noting the company still faces challenges in airlifting costs which are close to $2 (Frw1,090) per kilogram on SN Brussels.