Africa-Press – Rwanda. For over 10 years, Jean Claude Shirimpumu, a pig farmer from Gicumbi District, has been selling live animals. With some 800 pigs currently, he has played a role in helping fellow farmers to improve the quality of the breeds through artificial insemination and selling boars to them.
To him, having quality breeds alone is not enough. Now he sees an opportunity in value addition by transforming pork into sausages and other products.
Shirimpumu says that he loses income by selling unprocessed meat, yet big hotels in the country continue to rely on imported meat products. He’s thus keen on setting up a modern slaughterhouse and take his business to the next level.
Shirimpumu made the disclosure on October 12, in Kigali at a conference of local and Belgian investors who are engaged in the agriculture and construction sectors.
The four-day conference dubbed as Access for Impact, Technology and Innovation is organised by National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA) and Enable – a Belgian Development Agency.
In it, local investors have seen a perfect platform networking with their Belgian counterparts. As they exhibit their products, they also have a keen eye on what their Belgian colleagues can offer in terms of innovative technologies.
Shirimpumu is one of the prospective winners of NIRDA and Enabel’s Open Calls Programme which aim to support private sector development. Under this programme, NIRDA and Enable will provide interest-free loans without collateral in order to help firms acquire equipment, technical support, and business advisory services among other skills.
Targeted industries include poultry, piggery, and those in the production of animal feeds as well as businesses in the stone and clay value chain. Shirimpumu has pitched his business idea with hope that he will secure machinery to process pork from at least between 60 and 100 pigs per day, which he said would benefit other farmers who supply pigs as raw materials.
“I will target both local and export markets,” he said of his ambitious market plans. Talking about the expectation from the event, Shirimpumu said: “They will provide us with the expertise in choosing the right modern technologies.”
Pierrine Kamagaju, a member of Irasubiza Company Ltd engaged in brick making in Rulindo District said that they have been using manually operated equipment which is time-consuming and difficult to use.
“We want automated equipment to improve our operations and make more bricks in a shorter time,” she said.
They make 2,000 bricks every day but with modern equipment they estimate their daily production to rise to 10,000 bricks, in addition to bringing down the cost of production.
Christian Sekomo Birame, the Director-General of NIRDA, said that supporting firms through financing and access to the required technologies will bring down operating costs in livestock farming and make housing affordable.
“It is through leveraging advanced technology that our industries will be competitive,” he said. Over 100 firms have applied for financing under the Open Calls Programme in which has NIRDA invested about Rwf4.5 billion. Enabel will inject in almost Rwf3 billion to help businesses that have secured equipment access investment.
Bert Versmessen, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium to Rwanda, said they want especially to contribute to innovation in agriculture and urbanisation, referring to the fact that Rwanda has a growing population, which implies increased food and housing demand.
“I’d like to encourage the private sector to use innovation as a key driver to help increase productivity, quality and contribute to achieving the objectives of the Government of Rwanda in regard to Made in Rwanda products,” he said.