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New food processing firm to source raw materials from local farmers


Monday, 03 July 2017

New food processing firm to source raw materials from local farmers

Farmers are set to benefit from the Africa Improved Foods (AIF), a food processing factory that was unveiled Wednesday. Speaking at the official unveiling of the plant, various officials said the Kigali Special Economic Zone-based factory will be fed by raw materials produced locally. Officials said sourcing raw materials from local farmers is a key element that will benefit not only the producers but the country as well as the manufacturer. However, it was noted that local farmers still lack the capacity to satisfy the needs of the factory. AIF Rwanda is a joint venture between the Government of Rwanda and a consortium of four international partners; Royal DSM, Dutch development bank-FMO, CDC Group plc (the UK government’s Development Finance Institution) and IFC. The factory started operations in 2016. This year, AIF expects to hit a production output of at least 35,000 tonnes. But to achieve the target, the factory will need about 23,000 tonnes of maize and 7,000 tonnes of soya from both local and regional suppliers. According to Fike Sijbesma, the chief executive of Royal DSM, the plan is to ensure the raw materials, mainly soya beans and maize, are sourced locally, and to make Rwanda a regional food hub. “The concept is that the staple food (maize and soya) should come from Rwanda and that we manufacture it here and sell it via the Government, World Food Programe and other partners. “We are going to help farmers, we are going to educate them and help them to become as competitive as possible,” he added. The Minister for Agriculture and Animal Resources, Dr Geraldine Mukeshimana, said there is need to first sensitise the farmers so that they understand the significance of the factory in changing their lives. “What we have been doing is to make sure that we sensitise the producers enough to understand the benefits of this plant to them,” she said.

Source: Newtimes