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Rwanda seeks investments in horticulture industry

Rwanda’s horticulture sector remains largely untapped for both local and foreign investors, according to the country’s ministry of agriculture.

The government is seeking and encouraging investors, both local and foreign, to take up opportunities in the sector as the country has invested in hillside irrigation to ensure reliable and sustainable supply of produce to encourage horticultural exports.

Geraldine Mukeshimana, Rwanda minister of agriculture told reporters Friday that the country is looking for both foreign and local investors to massively invest in horticulture, a sector that remains hugely unexplored in the country.

"At the moment, the country is not exporting much fresh produce. We need more investors to enhance the industry performance. The country has an ideal climate for fresh produce. We have a wide range of irrigation systems across the country and are situated in important ecological zones that have comparative advantage for horticulture farming," she said.

The government is encouraging investments among others in the areas of farming, agroprocessing, cold-storage facilities and transportation to overseas markets.

According to George William Kayonga, chief executive National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB), Rwanda targets to fetch at least 140 million U.S. dollars worth of export returns annually by 2020.

"We are currently exporting fresh horticulture produce to Europe and other markets around the world, but we need more investors to increase on what the country produces at the moment. Rwanda is well placed to serve growing global, regional and local demand for fruits, flowers and vegetables if the sector is significantly explored by investors," he noted.

NAEB has started mapping and profiling land that is suitable for horticulture, which will be availed to investors next year. The target is to have at least 2,000 hectares dedicated to export-oriented production by 2018.

NAEB statistics indicate that Rwanda’s horticulture export earnings generated 5.8 million U.S. dollars during the last fiscal year, a decline from 6.6 million U.S. dollars in 2014.

Jimirasire

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