Usine Textile du Rwanda (Utexrwa), Rwanda’s only textile company plans to diversify its textile products to producing pineapple fabrics.
This was revealed yesterday by the company’s Managing Director, Raj Rajendran, who said that they plan to make the fabrics with pineapple extractions.
“This will be an addition to the diversification programme after the banana fabric technology initiated by the Japanese through Workforce Development Authority (WDA),” he added.
According to Rajendran , other stakeholders in the initiative include the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST).
The development comes at the heels of a visit to the country last year by a Japanese delegation from University of Tokyo’s Tama Art who conducted a hand weaving workshop with banana fabrics.
Rajendran explained that the diversification into pineapple fabrics is because of the available infrastructure and skills by Rwandans.
Currently, Utexrwa produces cotton for local consumption and export.
Last year, the factory diversified into silk production with investments worth $5 million and according to the Utexrwa management, silk products are expected on the local market this year.
“We are considering an initial investment of US$1 to 2 million for value addition and adding machinery to the already existing ones,” said Rajendran. With the banana and pineapple fabric projects, Rajendran said that they will need to work with farmers in cooperatives.
“This would ensure farmers are better organised for training on modern farming methods for a sustainable supply of raw materials,” he said.
He also revealed that part of their plan is to start producing Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs) which they intend to export to other countries.
Rajendran projected that if all goes as planned, Rwanda will increase on its export portfolio and subsequent earnings. For years now, Rwanda’s export earnings have been growing steadily.
From January to August last year, exports had registered USD 306.7m from USD 204.6m the previous year in the same period, an increase that represents almost 50 percent.