The Africa Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) is due to take place in Kigali next month and organisers will not come empty headed.
Smart agri-business entrepreneurs might walk away from the forum with a financial windfall of between $100,000 and 5 million to invest in value addition.
Adding value to agricultural produce has been one of Rwandan farmers’ main weaknesses as many lacked the skills and the money to venture into the trade.
But going around local stands at the ongoing Rwanda International Trade Fair, things are changing. It is quite heartening to see young entrepreneurs leading the way in transforming their produce to manufacture an array of products.
Food technology is slowly picking up with many Made-in-Rwanda foodstuffs on supermarket shelves, packaging and marketing have improved tremendously but there is more room to do more.
Though local financial institutions are reluctant to finance agricultural ventures – because of unreliable weather patterns and national catastrophes – they could at least follow in AGRF’s footsteps and help fund produce transformation targeting the local and export markets.
Local agri-business persons could help allay the banks’ fears of the risk factor by taking full advantage of the AGRF opportunities.
Financial offers in agri-business do not come every day and it is an opportunity to show that value additions is one of the most lucrative part in the food chain. Maybe that will convince local financial institutions that they been holding the shorter end of the stick by failing to take a more active part in financing agri-entrepreneurs.