Fruit and vegetable firms in Rwanda have been offered an opportunity to compete for technical and business advisory support as well as financial concessional support to buy upgraded equipment with advanced technology.
This follows a report of the tech audit conducted by the National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA) which revealed that local vegetable and fruit processing industries have limited capacity to process them to international market standards.
In the NIRDA’s tech audit between February and June 2019, it was found out that most of the owners are not able to use advanced technology in what they produce.
On Friday, when the findings of the tech audit were presented, it was recommended that measures should be taken to ensure that agriculture makes meaningful growth.
NIRDA’s Director General, Kampeta Sayinzoga, said the tech audit was conducted to also see how these firms could raise the value of what they are producing and how they can be assisted to access technology.
“We cannot believe that our industries can achieve enough production or make competitive products, if they do not use modern technolog,” she said.
“There have been some losses, but last year there were no incurred losses. The reason is that there have been incentives to post-harvest management. As NIRDA, we come to help them to increase their capacity in terms of technology because there are various areas where the products are taken to the market in the usual way,” she added.
In general, the tech audit report revealed that there are 77 firms in the country that process fruits and vegetables.
NIRDA assessed 56 firms dealing in fruits and vegetables value chain across the country in a bid to assess all that is needed to boost production through technology acquisition, business advisory.
NIRDA says that 11 out of 56 firms are able to take one of its products to international markets, equivalent to 19%.
It also revealed that 18.3% of the fruits is only well processed, and only 1.5% of the vegetables are only processed.
Some of the issues in the fields of agriculture include post-harvest losses, because there are no sufficient vehicles designed to transport the produce to the market.
NIRDA said that after this report, industries that deal with vegetables and fruit will compete and winners will be supported to get modern equipment through BDF Fund and technical advisory.
Sayinzoga said that NIRDA is ready to continue supporting industries in research and finding technological equipment.
The following charts indicate channels used to sell products and the size of terms of annual sales turnovers in both fruits and vegetables.