Bad-weather disrupts construction of US$17.5m solar-powered pineapple drying plant in Rwanda

RWANDA – Establishment of Rwf270 million (US$17.5m) solar-powered pineapple drying factory in Ngoma District, Eastern Province of Rwanda has been disrupted by heavy rains experienced in the region.

This comes days after Rwanda Meteorology Agency warned of looming heavy rains, which are rare during this time of the year.

According to reports by New Business Rwanda, a section of the wall of the 50% complete facility collapsed causing a major set back on the project which was scheduled to commence operations in August.

Despite the unexpected out-come, Mapambano Nyiridandi, the deputy mayor in charge of Economic Development in Ngoma District, has contacted the investor to plan for the resumption of construction works on the project.

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Upon completion it will have a processing capacity of 90,000 tonnes of pineapple every month, dried and packaged for both the domestic and export market.

“With the solar-powered factory to enhance value addition, farmers will manage to access the market close to them.”

Deputy Mayor in charge of Economic Development in Ngoma District – Mapambano Nyiridandi

The value-addition venture is aimed to reduce post-harvest losses incurred by farmers along the value chain and partly to address the shortage of market and in turn increase farmers income.

Ngoma is arguably the largest pineapple growing district in the country with about 4,000 hectares put under production.

“Farmers rely on the Kigali market for their produce. And given that pineapples are perishable products, coupled with high transport costs, farmers fetch low prices for their produce.

“With the solar-powered factory to enhance value addition, farmers will manage to access the market close to them,” Nyiridandi said.

The discouraging news to the farmers come days after TRIOMF East Africa, a joint venture firm owned by South African and Rwandan investors, announced that they have postponed their plan of constructing US$37 million milk powder plat in Gicumbi District.

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The planned facility with an installed capacity to process 252,000 litres of milk per day, was expected to commence construction by the end of last year and be completed within a year’s time.

However due to financial constraints, dairy farmers from the Northern part of the country were left a disappointed lot as they were looking forward to the ready market for their milk.

To rekindle their hopes, Inyange Industries, one of the leading food processing companies in the country unveiled plans of investing US$20.8 million to set up a milk powder plant in Nyagatare District, Northern Rwanda.

The proposed plant, according to its parent company Crystal Ventures Ltd (CVL) will have a processing capacity of 500,000 litres of milk a day producing 14,000 tonnes of milk powder and 5,460 tonnes of fat per year.

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