Rwanda’s horticulture exports increased by from $5 million in 2005 to $25 million in 2018, occasioned by new products on the market. This was reported by the Rwandan Ministry of Agriculture and Animal resources.
Gerardrine Mukeshimana, the Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources told The New Times that in 2018, vegetables generated $12.9 million in foreign exchange revenues while fruits shipped in $7.8 million and flowers $4.1 million. This reflects a significant rise compared to the previous year’s exports when vegetables generated more than $11 million, fruits $4.58 million; while flowers generated 1.24 million.
The country’s horticulture exports are dominated by onion, fresh beans, fresh peas, tomato, cabbage, carrots, cucumber, eggplants, French bean, pepper, and mushrooms. Others are chili, snow peas, flowers, broccoli, macadamia, avocado, and passion fruits.
The minister said that new products in addition to improved farming practices characterised increased capacity of cold chain facilities Government forecast shows that the country will generate an annual export revenue of $130 million from horticulture by 2024. The government is betting on the 200 hectare Gashora vegetable production project as promoting contract farming to boost horticulture exports.
Limited land for commercial production and limited number of investors in the horticulture are some of the challenges that have been cited in the sector.
There is however, a new, €16.2m project coming online to boost Rwanda’s horticulture output. More than 44,000 farmers from six districts are set to benefit from a new project that seeks to increase horticulture production,improve nutrition and support the growth of growth of small and medium enterprises.
Funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Rwanda, the Investment in Horticultural Development in Rwanda (HortInvest) is will be a four year project, which runs from 2018 to 2021. It will be implemented in six districts namely Muhanga, Karongi, Rutsiro, Rubavu, Nyabihu and Ngororero.