Bakhresa group invests $24million in wheat factory
Bakhresa Group, a regional grain milling company has invested $24 million (Rwf13.7 billion) in Rwanda as part of its expansion drive.
Speaking during the ground breaking ceremony to mark the beginning of the 12 months construction of the factory at Kigali industrial park, the company’s Managing Director, Abubakar Said Salim Bakhresa, said Rwanda would benefit from savings on its forex earnings by promoting local cultivation of wheat.
“This project will not only be able to make Rwanda self-sufficient in wheat flour but also be able to export flour to countries like DRC,” said Bakhresa.
Monique Nsanzabaganwa, the Minister of Commerce and Industry while commissioning construction of the factory said that government values this investment, especially because it falls under the agriculture sector.
“This investment is very significant since it’s going to contribute to our export portfolio,” Nsanzabaganwa added.
Bakhresa group ventures into food processing, beverage and the transport sector.
The new milling plant in Rwanda will have the capacity to produce 250 metric tonnes per day with a provision to upgrade to 500 metric tones.
Food prices surge
Continuous heavy rains around the country have destroyed gardens, leading to a surge in food prices in Kigali, a mini survey carried out by the Business Times revealed.
The survey carried out around Kigali City markets indicates that vegetables were affected most, with prices almost doubling on some commodities.
Irish potatoes have increased from Rwf100 at the end of 2009 to the current market price of Rwf130 per Kg while Matooke rose to Rwf160 from Rwf130.
Cassava is selling at Rwf200 from Rwf150. Other commodities like rice, ground nuts and sugar increased from Rwf600 to Rwf750, Rwf500 to Rwf1, 000 and Rwf600 to Rwf800 per Kg respectively.
Harriet Mukaruringo, a vendor in Kimironko market who is commonly know as mama Yves attributes the hike in food prices to the heavy rains the country has experienced in the last months.
Local companies urged on branding.
Local companies should strengthen their branding to cope with the growing competition, and also reap benefits of a single East African Community (EAC) economic block, Celestin Makuza, Executive Director of TCL, an event management and advertising company has said.
Rwanda’s entry into the EAC, has led to an influx of regional brands in various sectors, increasing competition for market share.
“Despite great improvements in some local companies, we still lag behind if we are to compete fairly on regional and global markets,” Makuza said, adding that with a lack of brand recognition, local firms are having difficulties in attaining globalisation.
“Branding comes at a cost. Rwandan companies should get the corporate feel and avoid working behind doors.
Tea export receipts up by 2.5 percent
Revenues from tea exports climbed by 2.5 percent to $1.92 million in the month of January from $1.8 million in the same month last year, occasioned by high and stable international prices.
Rwanda tea authority, Ocir- Thé, said the increase was realized through the weekly sales at the Mombasa auction market as well as direct sales to tea dealers.
“We have been able to earn more than we did last year because the international prices for tea have increased,” Lea Gisimba, marketing and sales officer of Ocir-Thé said.
Average prices for January tea have increased to $2.73 per kilogram compared to the $2.11 per kilogram during the same period last year.
However, the quantity of tea sold in January last year, was higher than what has been sold this year, reducing from 889,507Kgs to 702,041Kgs.
The increase in prices and revenues was also attributed to the high demand of tea that arises from less supply.
Most Tour guides unqualified
Lack of qualified tour guides is hurting the tourism industry, Kirenga Kamugisha, the president of Rwanda Safari Guides Association (RWASAGA) has said.
He said that if he was to recommend any qualified guides, only five in Rwanda’s tourism sector would pass the litmus test.
There are close to 40 tour guides in the tourism industry who work for about 30 tour operators.
Kirenga said the current success of the tourism industry, rides on the self explanatory nature of the mountain gorillas, which are sought by the highest number to tourists into Rwanda.
He also mentioned that besides being unqualified, tour guides are faced with a language barrier.
The training comes in a period when a draft law on tourism that was passed by cabinet is in parliament for discussion. It demands that tour guides be academically qualified for the job.
Tourism is one of the top foreign exchange earners for Rwanda.
The training is being financed by tour operators.