Rwandan agri-preneur lands $2 million chili export deal

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Diego Twahirwa, a young Rwandan agribusiness entrepreneur, has secured a deal to export 1,500 drums (barrels) containing 37,500 litres of chili oil for $2 million (about Rwf1.7 billion).

Supply will start this month until May 2019.

The agreement was reached between Kai Jiang Xian zi Wei Food (the contracting company) and Gashora Farm (the supplier company) on the sidelines of China International Import Expo 2018 (CIIE2018) in Shanghai, China’s biggest City.

The 6-day event was held from 5th November to 10th November 2018 at the National Convention and Exhibition Center in Shanghai.

Speaking to Sunday Times from China, via phone, Diego Twahira, who is the Managing Director of Gashora Farm, said that clients in China appreciated his chili product describing it as new and innovative.

He added that the development means that he has a ready market for his final products, which will also benefit the farmers he works with.

Gashora Farm is Rwandan supplier of agro-products to both local and international markets. It has largely been exporting fresh chili, which Twahirwa said was subject to price fluctuations on the international market, and consequently, would have adverse effects on farmers’ income. Its chili export markets included the US, Belgium, France, India, Netherlands and Switzerland.

“Thanks to this new arrangement, I have a ready market for my final products, and I am not worried about price volatility,” he said.

In addition, he said, it will help stabilise his company as he can buy needed equipment and decent packaging that can make his products competitive on the market.

The Chinese, he said, want to source and are willing to buy more agricultural commodities from Africa.

He said that getting such a purchase intention letter can also help him secure finance as it presents a profitable business opportunity.

Speaking during a press conference Thursday, the Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Dr. GerardineMukeshimana, said that young people are realising business opportunities in adding value to agricultural produce through agro-processing.

“I think that by securing a $2 million export contract, the agri-preneur will have grown his business next year, and got increased investment that will help him expand his activities,” she noted, pointing at the lack of sufficient financial means that has been hindering the progress of agro-processing start-ups.

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