Seven firms from different countries are expected to invest more than Rwf53 billion in large-scale commercial farming under the Gabiro Agribusiness Hub, according to information The New Times got from the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI).
The hub is in Nyagatare and Gatsibo districts of Eastern Province. It was developed to cater to the country’s food security needs, and help it offset trade balance by addressing the current situation where its imports still outweigh its exports.
It was initiated through a partnership between the Government of Rwanda and Netafim – an Israel-based firm considered a global leader in irrigation.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources, the project aims to create a holistic and commercial agricultural ecosystem by developing an advanced modern value chain over approximately 15,600 hectares of arable land with advanced water infrastructure, cutting-edge irrigation systems, high-value agro-processing operations, and other agriculture technology activities.
Speaking during the 19th National Dialogue Council – Umushyikirano, on January 23, the Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Ildephonse Musafiri, said that more than Rwf100 billion had already been invested in the development of 5,600 hectares of Gabiro Agribusiness Hub – as the first phase of the project.
This, he said, attracted large investors who do large-scale farming on land of up to 1,000 hectares.
Here are the companies, the acreage they were awarded, their investments, and which crops they are venturing into, as per information The New Times received from MINAGRI:
This is a company from Romania and Bulgaria. It was awarded 978 hectares for growing maize, soybean, wheat, and vegetables. Its investment is estimated at more than Rwf16 billion in five years.
The company originates from Rwanda and plans to invest more than Rwf18.8 billion in growing chili, soybean, and macadamia in five years, on the 523 hectares it was awarded.
Western Seed Company
Originating from Kenya, the firm was awarded 898 hectares, and it is expected that it will invest Rwf2 billion for maize seed production in five years.
This firm from Rwanda was awarded 432 hectares for growing maize, maize seeds, soybeans, and French beans. It is projected that the company will invest Rwf1 billion over one year.
Also from Rwanda, the company plans to invest more than Rwf10 billion in growing maize and chili over five years, on more than the 615 hectares it was awarded.
A horticulture exporting company from Rwanda, Garden Fresh was awarded 196 hectares on which it is expected to grow French beans, passion fruits, chili, and avocado. It is planned that the firm will put in Rwf388 million in one year.
Originating from Zimbabwe, the company was awarded 282 hectares and it is expected it will invest Rwf4 billion on growing butternut, potatoes, lemon, strawberries, and peas over three years.
On the implication of the development on Rwanda’s agriculture sector and the country’s economy at large, Musafiri told The New Times it means “increased productivity due to introduction of better farming practices, [and] over 6,000 job creation in the command area.”
He indicated that farming activities under the project are set to commence on March 31, 2024.
Meanwhile, he said that the project serves as the first large-scale and job-creating farming model that generates money in Rwanda and will later be expanded to other parts of the country.