Sakina Usengimana is the founder of Afri Foods, a horticultural company headquartered in Rwanda. The company exports crops such as chili, avocado, eggplant and passion fruit to Europe and Dubai. The Rwanda business woman took three attempts to become successful in the horticulture business. The first two -failed- attempts taught her valuable lessons. First, she noticed that she needed the right skill sets and, secondly, picking the right crop and thirdly, lining up her first client and then securing supply. Usengimana first started with bell peppers and tomatoes but they all failed because she didn’t have the request skills.
Having learned some important lessons from previous failed attempts, she approached the chairman of Rwanda Horticulture Exporters Association to link her with a client for chili pepper. She got connected to clients from the Netherlands, leading to the birth of Afri Foods.
Afri Foods sources its crops from smallholder farmers and co-operatives. The business decided to fortify its supply chain and raise its own output from these farms in response to the influx of customers and the corresponding rise in demand. Today, Afri Foods contributes around 30% of all the chilli required for export clients from its own farms.