In the context of shifting international origins and markets for fresh produce, new players are emerging as alternative supply sources, such as Rwandan producers who significantly increased their export volumes in recent months.
Seun Rasheed, CEO of Rwandan exporter Souk Farms, said: "Rwanda is an emerging country in the international agricultural market, as our horticulture and agriculture exports date less than 10 years. Favourable climatic conditions, coupled with supportive government policies have strengthened our position and rewarded the efforts of farmers and the government to promote agribusiness in the country."
Souk Farms exports several products, such as Avocados, Fine Beans, Extra Fine Beans, Habanero, Bird Eye Chillies, Sugar Snaps, and Snow Peas, and has seen demand for its products increase to the point that its volumes are no longer sufficient.
"As an example, our Fine beans exports increased by over 70% in 2023 compared to 2022. This growth is being experienced by other Fine Beans exporters. At a national level, we are probably seeing an increase of over 30% in Fine Beans export, driven by strong demand from European countries and particularly the United Kingdom."
Export volumes from Rwanda are growing rapidly, adds Seun: "For Avocado, Rwanda’s export could increase by over 600% to 16,000 tonnes per year by 2026 based on trees planted to date. The same applies to fine beans with expected annual output would increase by 70% by end of 2023. The growth potential is very exciting. A single customer in the UK could import 500 tons per week of beans from Rwanda, and this will happen. Rwanda is the next big player in exotic fruit and vegetables".
The success of Rwandan agricultural products is explained, according to Seun, by the advantages that the country offers. "In a context of climate change that is becoming more and more a daily reality, the situation in Rwanda is favourable. We produce throughout the year and have the capacity to supply the international market on a stable basis, in addition to the fact that our production costs remain lower despite recent increases. Moreover, due to our Agriculture practices and good quality, products from Rwanda generate premiums in our target market."
"And this momentum is sustainable, adds the exporter, Rwanda will remain a source of agricultural products beyond the cyclical disruptions of this year. We have seen the effects of the economic and environmental situation on several countries, and we learn the right lessons to make our agriculture sustainable. We are increasingly adopting irrigation, energy, and fertilization systems that strengthen our resilience to crises".
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Mr. Seun Rasheed
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