According to the latest Agriculture Status Report on Africa, Rwanda ranked highest in agricultural growth. It was followed by Mali and Morocco. 80% of Rwanda’s population depends on Agriculture for survival. The growth of Agriculture in Rwanda has been highly dependent on a structured system where cooperative societies are used to train farmers and provide ready market. The success of the agricultural sector in Rwanda has been heavily reliant on companies that have made it possible for farmers to get ready market for their produce.
This company was established in 2010 by Laurent Demuynck. Before establishing this company, Laurent worked as the CEO of a Brewery in New York. When he visited Rwanda, he realized the dangers of malnutrition and opted to start a company that focuses on mushroom production. Today, Kigali farms is the largest producer and supplier of oyster mushroom in Rwanda.
Kigali Farms has a substrate farm in Byumba, Gicumbi District. It employs over 30 people. About 10 tons of substrate blends are prepared weekly. This company supplies approximately a ton of fresh mushrooms, dried mushrooms, and mushroom tubes monthly to supermarkets, restaurants, retail customers, and markets. Expansion plans have been put in place, with an additional plant set to be established in Musanze.
Rwanda Mountain Tea Ltd
Rwanda started tea production in 1952. It is Rwanda’s main cash crop. In 2006, Rwanda Mountain Tea Ltd was one of the indigenous private companies that owned majority of the shares of tea estates that had once belonged to government. They include Rubyaa and Nyabihu in the Northern and Western region respectively.
This company also set up tea factories in different parts of the country including in Rutsiro, western Rwanda. This factory specializes in the production of Black CTC, green tea, and orthodox black tea. Some of the measures taken by the company to improve tea production include the acquisition of more tea fields, better farming practices, and the construction of modern tea factories. This company has been recognized internationally for the production of one of the best black CTC tea.
This company has been growing and processing tea since 1975. Tea Importers Inc., an American company, is the majority shareholder. Sorwathe Ltd was the first private tea company in Rwanda and is located 70km to the north of Kigali.
Sorwathe responded to a plea by government for private investors to establish a factory around Kinihira. This company received a lease for 300 hectares of land. Besides establishing a tea plantation, a tea factory was constructed to make the production process easier without incurring transportation costs. 3,200 tons of tea is produced annually from this plantation. This represents 14% of the annual total tea production in the country.
Over 2,500 people earn their keep from this company. When it comes to tea production, Sorwathe is the trend setter. Other tea producing entities look up to this company to establish variety and quality of tea. This company has also invested heavily in the use of modern machinery. Sorwathe mainly produces black and green tea.
Ikirezi Natural Products
This is a community based company that specializes in the production of essential oils. Geranium oil, Eucalyptus oil, and Lemongrass oil are the main essential oils being produced. This company works with the local farmers and cooperative societies. However, widows and orphans are the main recipients of the support offered by this company.
Ikirezi trains farmers on the plants they can grow which have ready market. Their main production areas are central Rwanda and the northern highlands. This company’s main mission is to improve the livelihoods of the farmers, strengthen agribusiness in Rwanda, and transform communities to be self-reliant. Ikirezi natural products are available in the local and international market.
Asili Natural Oils
This company focuses on the production of cold pressed Moringa oils, Moringa seed cake, and cosmetic ingredients. Moringa is a plant that is appreciated for its health and beauty benefits world over. This company works with the local communities in a bid to get them to be part of the supply chain. Farmers are encouraged to plant Moringa trees and care for them since they are a source of income.
This company has a modern processing plant where quality Moringa products are produced. Storage is a critical component in the production and care of Moringa products. This company endeavors to ensure the final product is of high value.
Rwacof Exports Sarl
Rwacof Exports Sarl is involved in the production and export of Arabica coffee. It has been in business since 1996. It is found in Kansegere Gikondo, Kigali. Besides processing coffee from its plantation, Rwacof offers processing services for small scale farmers and other exporters.
It also offers training programs on coffee production for farmers and associations. The focus of the training is on the handling of the coffee in the farms to the factory where processing starts. It also trains its staff to ensure the company retains highly skilled employees who play a key role in the production process. This has made it possible for the company to purchase high quality coffee. Rwacof has a modern laboratory which helps them determine the quality of coffee.
Minimex Ltd is the largest company in Rwanda dealing with the production of sifted and fortified maize meal. This company buys a significant quantity of maize from farmers and cooperative societies. It established a maize mill in 2006 and has since provided market for maize farmers in the region.
Sosoma Industries Ltd
Incorporated in the last quarter of 2008, this company specializes in the manufacture of maize meal, sorghum and soya flour. Sosoma Industries Ltd was established to find malnutrition in Rwanda. It has partnered with not for profit organizations that are involved in eradicating humanitarian crisis arising from lack of quality food. Eradicating hunger, improvement of maternal health and a reduction in child mortality are some of the basic principles that are upheld by Sosoma Industries Ltd.
Kinazi Cassava Plant Ltd
This cassava factory was established in April 2012. It was approved by the government of Rwanda which felt there was a need for value addition, especially because of the large production of cassava. The alternative would be the loss of part of the yield that is not consumed. This company has a highly automated milling factory estimated to be worth $10million. The final product is sold in the local market, East Africa, European Union and the USA. Local cassava farmers have ready market thanks to this company. The main products are cassava flour and starch.
SINA Gerard Urwibutso Enterprise
This company has in the past been recognized by the Rwanda government for its immense contribution to the economy. Over 2000 people are employed in this company. Many more indirectly benefit from the various functions of the company. It is involved in animal husbandry, production of passion juice, banana wine, and chili oil. This company rears rabbits, ducks, cows and pigs. They are sold locally and internationally. This company also has a bakery. Because of its diversification, this company has been quite beneficial to farmers and traders.
In 2017, Agriculture contributed 32% to Rwanda’s GDP. It is one of the most important sectors of the economy. The companies that have invested in the sector have played a critical role in the continued growth in agribusiness in Rwanda.