Examples of Business Case supported by HortInvest: Garden Fresh
Garden Fresh is one of few Rwandan companies, which have obtained Global GAP and SMETA/ETI certifications. The company is providing its customers with safe, reliable and quality products. Garden Fresh specializes in the export of fresh produce from Rwanda including vegetables and fruits into the European markets. The company manages its farms and works with a network of more than 600 out growers to deliver safe and nutritious produce to high end markets in the Netherlands and UK. The company exports on an average of 20 MT fruits and vegetables per week. The main products include French beans, Tender stem broccoli, passion fruits, baby corn, chili, and avocados.
HortInvest partnered with Garden fresh in 2019 to increase production volumes, quality of its export products and engage with the out-grower farmers in HortInvest target districts.
“Garden Fresh project with HortInvest has been a success story. Sales value increased from Euro 1,200,000 in 2018 to Euro 2,000,000 in 2019 and volumes from 385 MT to 665 MT during this period. We have been able to invest in infrastructure development such as irrigation and mechanization equipment and our own pack house’’ says Aimable Gakirage, the Managing Director of Garden Fresh
Selling points for fruits and vegetables
HortInvest Project in partnership with 6 districts of project area had invested in construction of selling point to increase the commercialization and consumption of fruits and vegetables at local markets.
The access to market infrastructure is aligned to the local governments priorities to set up fruits and vegetables selling points for the local products. This is expected to increase the volume of sales and framers’ income from fruits and vegetables, as well as improving the nutritious balanced diet. The access to the market will increase producer’s voice and negotiation power whereas Young males and females from farmers ’cooperatives are given priorities in the marketplace.
Story of Florence: Kitchen garden
“Kitchen garden provided me with a great opportunity to have a year-round production of different vegetables. I and my family used to consume vegetables in the rainy season, when there are a lot of dodo that grow up in my compound. After getting training from HortInvest project on how to establish kitchen gardens and maintain them for a year-round vegetable production it has changed my family consumption habit in way that even in dry season we are able to include vegetables in our diet.
Furthermore, I was preparing vegetables like dodo in food shortage period of the year and stop when it is harvest time when we have enough beans, Irish potatoes and other staples food. But after being trained through HortInvest project on importance of vegetables consumption mainly for women of Reproductive Age and Children, I now know that fruits and vegetables make a balanced diet when eaten complementing stables and animal food sources. That has changed my family’s eating pattern, in a way that in almost every prepared meal I include vegetables. HortInvest also brought to us other type of vegetables called swiss chard that are very nice with more nutrients and they are good to maintain because they resistant to dry season. It is worthy to have a kitchen garden as they do not need much space and are easy to maintain’’.
Example of an Innovation Project supported by HortInvest: Story of Christian Irakoze, the co-founder of EZA NEZA
Christian is a 27-year old Rwandan agripreneur with a background in IT & business development. Soon after he graduated from a university in United States in 2015, he moved back to Rwanda in order to explore opportunities in his homeland. It wasn’t long before he realized that the same growth and innovations, he had been witnessing in the tech space in the US was lacking in the Rwandan Agricultural sector. He therefore decided to cofound Eza Neza Company which specializes in greenhouse and hydroponic technologies. The advantage of this technology is that; it uses up to 90% less water, 80% less space brings better climate resiliency thus reducing the risk of loss due to draught and flood.
“I got an amazing opportunity to work with HortInvest project and thanks to the partnership with HortInvest, I have now been able to establish a commercial hydroponics and vertical farm in Muhanga District and I am expecting production worth 50 Million Rwandan Francs from sweet paper, straw berry and tomatoes in just 900sqM of space over the next year and we are likely to break even with the next two years” Says Christian.
Eza Neza is also contributing to national employment program as it employs both casual workers and long-term employment workers. “We have so far provided a short-term employment to 20 people and a long-term employment to 5 people and we are planning to increase the number of workers with both short term and long-term employment in the near future’’ added Christian
Story of Stanislas: Pineapple farmer and president of HUMU cooperative from Rutsiro
“Pineapple farming brings me great delight. I spend a good part of my days in the field harvesting, weeding, watering or covering soil. Not only does it add nutritional value, but it has also enabled me to earn an income and improve my standard of living.
HortInvest came as a solution to the goals that we were trying to achieve. We have a vision to do modernsed pineapple farming and access to better markets. It made me extremely happy. With our improved skills and knowledge, we are optimistic that we will attract many more partners. As a cooperative, we also aspire of having our own juice-processing factory. we know if we continue to work hard, we will achieve it. Now that we started working with HortInvest, things are good. To me, I feel confident and hopeful for a better future”.
Story of Julienne: vegetable farmer from Muhanga
“Being a member of a local cooperative here in Muhanga district called IABM has helped me considerably, especially when it comes to obtaining a market for my produce. Through our cooperative and HortInvest, I have gained a wealth of knowledge and skills about vegetable farming. We have been able to learn and incorporate crop diversification. We have been introduced to what we call modern vegetable farm. I farm a variety of vegetables that I was not familiar with before such as yellow and red pepper, cauliflower, broccoli and cucumber. I was amazed to be able to earn an income three times higher than the amount I would make in the past”.