Rwanda: High airfreight charges threaten horti export competitiveness

Rwandan horticulture exporters have appealed for lower airfreight charges after an increase in the transport fees has adversely affected their profits. The increase of the airfreight charges was attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic. The change in air cargo transport pricing started in March when the Covid-19 disrupted the travel and aviation industry, resulting in the suspension of commercial passenger flights. Both airlines are the main providers of cargo air transportation services in the country.

Donatille Nibagwire, the owner of a company engaged in horticulture exports told The New Times that this issue is making Rwandan horticulture exporters lose competitiveness at the international markets compared to regional exporters whose airfreight charges did not increase. The company exports bananas, avocados, chilli, and sweet potato leaves to Europe, but Nibagwire said it halted the exportation of bananas as a result of high airfreight fares.

Robert Rukundo, the Chairman of Horticulture Exporters Association of Rwanda, added that being subjected to high air transport tariffs yet the prices for the final products taken to the market have not increased has had a negative impact on the horticulture business.

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