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Rwanda cooperative finds good business in dried pineapple
Emmanuel Hafashimana, a pineapple farmer from Kirehe District, Eastern Province, Rwanda, remembers when a pineapple weighing three kilogrammes used to cost Rwf50, leaving farmers without tangible gains from their investments.
Realising that the farmers’ produce was being sold at a giveaway price, and some pineapples were getting rotten in stores due to a lack of ready buyers, a cooperative was formed by pineapple farmers in Kirehe District, called Tuzamurane, which means, ‘let’s partner to develop’,— with the intention to look for a favourable market for their produce.
The cooperative, which operates from Gahara Sector, has 133 members cultivating organic pineapple on about 90 hectares.
The initiative helped increase the price of a kilogramme of pineapple to Rwf130, which means that a three-kilogramme pineapple now costs Rwf390 from the mere Rwf50.
Most importantly, the cooperative set up a pineapple processing unit. It bought equipment to dry fresh pineapples, and it exports the packaged dried commodities to France. The product has a shelf life of one year.
Currently, Barajiginywa revealed that the cooperative’s dried fruit exports grew to two tonnes per month, earning it revenues amounting to over $360,000 per year, or Rwf300 million.
“Our area [Kirehe District] is appropriate for pineapples. They used to rot or were sold at a giveaway price because there were few buyers. But, thanks to the cooperative’s value addition initiative, farmers have a ready market for their produce for a good price, and we earn more from exports,” Barajiginywa said.
1 RWF = 0.0012 USD
Publication date: 9/4/2017
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