Rwanda: Packaging, certification challenge for exporters

Local manufacturers have decried lack of standard packaging materials in the country and certification process as major challenges hindering Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) from accessing international markets.

Speaking at the second public and private dialogue on market access, in Kigali, yesterday, the Minister for Trade and Industry, Francois Kanimba, said the government is committed to addressing challenges impeding exportation to reduce the country's trade deficit.

The dialogue was organised by the Ministry of Trade and Industry in collaboration with International Trade Centre (ITC). Kanimba said the ministry has set up a team to follow up on the problem of packaging materials and suggest a way forward.

"We have noticed that the big challenge facing SMEs is packaging, yet packaging sells a product at over 50 per cent. You may have a good product but when it is packed poorly, its sale is hard. We want to have efficient packaging materials produced locally in the near future," he said.

Christine Murebwayire, the chairperson of agriculture and livestock chamber at the Private Sector Federation, said product certification is another challenge faced especially by the agri-livestock exporters.

"We recently went to import packaging materials from Kenya but came back empty handed because we needed a sample as required by our Dubai customers but a Kenyan firm declined to manufacture the small quantity. We wish to have locally produced standard packaging materials," she said.

Kanimba said fruits and vegetables are fetching more than US$60 million every year while the target is $140 million by 2018.


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