Turning Rwanda’s Food Systems Circular
Meet the Trailblazers: The First Cohort CIRF SMEs Announced
Meet the Trailblazers: The First Cohort CIRF SMEs Announced
Rwanda, ‘The Land of a Thousand Hills’, is primarily an agricultural economy. Around 70% of the population works in this sector accounting for 33% of the national GDP (Gross Domestic Product). In recent years awareness about the circular economy and its potential impact for transforming Rwanda’s agricultural industry has risen. The need to strengthen the country's food systems has become more evident among policymakers, small-medium enterprises, and audiences beyond its borders. Circularity can bring regenerative practices ensuring minimal resource loss during production as well as bringing benefits for people, nature, and the climate.
The Circular Food Systems for Rwanda (CIRF) project (supported by the IKEA Foundation) aims to establish a circular economy for food in Rwanda, providing a framework to address challenges within the agricultural sector. The project translates global ambitions of a circular economy into actionable outcomes, capitalizing on the country’s unique opportunity to greatly improve its production and consumption of food.
At the core of this initiative is the CIRF SME Fund which is designed to fill the resource gap for small and medium enterprises. Businesses working at this scale make up 98% of Rwanda’s enterprises. SMEs provide 41% of private sector jobs and play a vital role in the nation's economy. The fund offers SMEs access to education, bespoke technical assistance, and networking opportunities. Together this will empower them to adopt and sustain successful circular business models thereby maximizing opportunities to scale.
In June 2023, the SME Fund opened the first round of applications and attracted 75 SMEs across Rwanda. Among them, seven presented outstanding circular business proposals and were chosen to receive technical assistance. These enterprises range from sustainable agriculture to innovative technology. As a cohort, they are positioned well to drive positive change and make a difference in Rwanda's roadmap toward a sustainable and circular food system.
Meet the first cohort of the SME Fund
Africa Foods Supply LTD
Lcation: Kamonyi District, Southern Province
Contact: Serge Ganza
Africa Food Supply (AFS) was established in 2016 to provide locally grown and sourced, high-quality, nutritional, fresh vegetables, fruits, and grains. They are currently growing tomatoes, sweet potatoes, zucchini, pineapples, and cucumbers. Africa Foods Supply LTD applies a farm-to-table concept whereby they grow crops for their restaurant and provide a surplus for other markets. The company currently caters to local markets in Kamonyi and Kigali, Rwanda, with plans to expand nationwide. While much of their production comes from their fields at present, Africa Foods Supply LTD began by working with farmer cooperatives in the area. These farmers have now been integrated into the production and sales system AFS established. The company is currently expanding the business into a bakery, coffee shop, and a small processing facility.
Location: Rubavu District, Western Province
Contact: Zilipa Nyirabyago
MNB Ltd was established in 2012 with a vision to fight against hunger and malnutrition while creating sustainable jobs in both rural and urban areas in Rwanda. MNB recycles agricultural waste, such as soya residues and dried coffee pulp, to produce various eco-responsible circular food products. Using a zero-waste mushrooms value chain, the company produces organic compost and sells it to local farmers. The company wants to promote a similar business model of circularity to low-income farmers, especially women and youth with small land, to enable them to grow into sustainable agro-entrepreneurs.
Next Farm LTD
Location: Rulindo District, Northern Province
Contact: Uwineza Henriette
Next Farm was created with a mission to promote the efficient and effective use of agricultural subproducts and waste by reusing and recycling them. By doing so, the company strives to improve the livelihood of nearby communities through sustainable food supply. Next Farm specializes in pig farming. They produce sausages and sell pork to local customers. They also engage in growing crops, such as banana, Irish potatoes, and maize, mainly as feed for their pigs; and produce and sell compost they make using animal manure.
Location: Kicukiro District, Kigali
Contact: Israel Niyonshuti
Tech Adopter is an Agri-Tech engineering company with a mission to empower Rwandan farmers with innovative agricultural solutions that increase productivity, reduce costs, minimize waste, and improve livelihoods. The company manufactures affordable and customized agricultural equipment for harvesting and processing crops.
Glory Mixed Farm
Location: Nyagatare District, Eastern Province
Contact: Mukagacinya Agathe
Glory Mixed Farm is a privately owned business that practices a range of agropastoral farm activities, producing and selling animal and crop products such as pigs, chickens, eggs, maize, tomatoes, rice, and bananas. The company also produces and sells manure to local farmers. The company started operations in 2008, producing and selling crops, such as maize, beans, and soybeans, and livestock farming including cows and goats. The company has its corporate office in Kigali, Rwanda with farmland in Nyagatare District, Eastern province of Rwanda.
Golden Insect LTD
Location: Musanze District, Southern Province
Contact: Dominique Xavio Imbabazi
Golden Insect LTD is a company that specializes in commercial breeding of insects and insect-related macro and microorganisms for feed, food, and organic fertilizer. They breed black soldier flies, giant African land snails, and earthworms (red worms). Their main activities focus on minimizing food loss and waste through the conversion of bio-waste into high-quality organic fertilizers in solid (vermicompost) and liquid form (vermiliquid) by employing red worms at a large scale. So far, they have been able to transform 10 tons of food waste every month.
Kigasali Coffee Company LTD
Location: Gasabo District, Kigali City
Contact: Niyoneza Didier
Kigasali Coffee Company has been engaged in coffee processing since 2016. It exports its products, as well as sells in the Rwandan market. Kigasali employs 5,108 farmers and hires only women for the selection of coffee before processing. Recently, the company has started using fresh coffee waste to produce organic fertilizers.
For further information about the fund and to enquire about the second round of cohort applications please submit here. PACE (Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy) is a proud partner of the Circular Food Systems for Rwanda Project and will be participating as part of CIRF at this year’s WCEF 2024 in Brussels. For further updates, please follow announcements on our website and LinkedIn channels.