Rwf6b cassava factory opens
President Paul Kagame, yesterday, unveiled a Rwf 6 billion cassava processing factory in Kinazi, Ruhango District in the Southern Province.
The plant, built with funding of the Rwanda Development Bank has the capacity to process 144 tonnes of cassava with an output of 45 tonnes of flour per day.
Kagame called on the area residents to make the most of the processing plant to empower themselves economically. He said that while in the past, cassava was just eaten raw, roasted or boiled, the new factory comes with value addition, which should make their products competitive on the international market.
The President also toured Ruhango referral hospital which will soon become operational.
President Kagame reiterated that Rwandans have the ability to develop themselves, and to wean off foreign aid. He said Rwandans shouldn’t accept to live on ‘leftovers’ yet they are in a position to avail themselves with what they need.
The President said Rwanda’s development was visible to the faces of its citizens and called on the people to maintain the pace at which the country was developing.
He called on the residents to jealously guard their security, culture and socio-economic achievements.
The Mayor of Ruhango, Francois Xavier Mbabazi, said: “The last time the President visited us, he pledged a cassava processing factory. The factory is now in place, what remains is for us to exploit it and we are ready to do that. Currently we have over 10,000 hectares of cassava plantations and 67 collection centres for cassava.”
In a separate interview, the Rwanda Development Bank, CEO, Jack Kayonga, said the cassava milling factory will serve both local, regional and international markets.
“The plant will be producing world class flour. We are currently looking at employing about 100 people in the factory but it will generally create many more jobs mainly for the local community, including cassava suppliers,” he said.
The plant is scheduled to be fully operational by next month.
Though its run by BRD, there are plans to allow farmers to acquire shares and ultimately enable cassava growers to own and manage the factory themselves.
Auralia Mukarurangwa, shared her testimony about her successful cassava business. She said opened a cassava business years back after acquiring a loan of Rwf 20,000 which she used to buy seeds and a hoe.
“I used the profits from my business to pay school fees for my five children, currently one is doing a Masters degree, two are pursuing Bachelors’ degrees, while the rest are in secondary school.
“My cassava business grew, now I have five Friesian cows and I have no doubt I am going to be one of the beneficiaries of this new factory,” she said.
At farm, the price of cassava will be Rwf 40 while at the factory it will be Rwf 50 per kilogramme.
BRD says there is enough cassava in the area to enable the factory produce at full capacity. The bank has also given farmers loans to grow cassava in order to ensure regular supply of quality cassava.
Apart from flour production, the waste will be treated and turned into fertiliser and animal feeds.
On the other hand, the construction of the 200-bed Ruhango referral Hospital cost Rwf 5.5 million, while equipping it will cost Rwf1.5 billion.
Mayor Mbabazi said the facility will serve more than 15,000 residents.