Currently the firm manages to utilise only 10 hectares of the total 50 hectares it owns
East African Growers (EAG) Rwanda has exported about 50 tonnes of French beans to Belgium in a period of six months. The company, which was targeting five tonnes per week, has doubled the volume to 10 tonnes per week. East African Growers Rwanda’s main customers are Star Fruit.
“With no doubt it’s a success story because it was our target for the first six months and we are on track,” Aimable Gakirage, Director General of EAG said in an exclusive interview.
According to Gakirage, currently the firm manages to utilise only 10 hectares of the total 50 hectares it owns. He said they intend to expand their capacity but depending on the cargo space, which is their biggest challenge.
“We are constrained by direct cargo space from Kigali otherwise we have a wide range of products that can be exported to the United Kingdom,” Gakirage said.
Recently President Paul Kagame visited the Gasabo-based site and he hailed the initiative where he urged local leaders to learn from EAG and use cooperatives for developmental activities.
Among the challenges addressed to the president include expensive cargo space and cold room charges. The president urged the Ministry of Agriculture to look into the issue and ensure the problem is solved. Kagame suggested that the project should be expanded to other areas.
Gakirage said that the company pays $2.2 per kilogram yet these are not direct flights compared to Kenya where the same amount is paid to direct flights.
“We can not compete with people from Kenya or other places with direct flights, its expensive and inconvenient because it also involves reloading,” Gakirage emphasised.
EAG employees about 150 people on a daily basis.