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Rwandan firms eye Zim market

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BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
THE Private Sector Federation (PSF), one of the largest business associations in Rwanda, says some of its members are exploring opportunities in the mining, energy and manufacturing sectors of Zimbabwe.

So far, one of the federation’s members, Gashora Farm has entered into a partnership with Shumbatafari Agriculture, one of Zimbabwe’s leading agribusiness firms, to venture
into chilli production for export.

In an interview with NewsDay Business, PSF chairperson Robert Bafakulera said: “We came to Zimbabwe to see if there are opportunities and we have seen that there are a lot of opportunities in the area of agriculture, food processing, manufacturing and mining. But most interest is in mining, agri-processing, manufacturing and agriculture.

“So, some of our members have started having interest in agriculture as one company has started preparation of planting chilli which they will export to China. So far, everything has been done well. Zimbabwe has got land, machinery, seed and finance. By August or September they will start exporting to China. Other companies are exploring mining, energy and manufacturing.”

Gashora Farm manager Diego Twahirwa said they have reached the project implementation stage with Shumbatafari.

“We will start on 500 hectares as a pilot project,” he said.

The 500 hectares will produce about 2 500 tonnes of chilli and an expected US$5 million return on investment.

“Our target is to move from 500 hectares to 10 000 hectares. We have already purchased some capital equipment. We decided to come and expand our business in Zimbabwe. The first thing that we did was to find a partner,” Twahirwa said.

Under the agreement, Gashora Farm provides an export market, while Shumbatafari Agriculture provides the land and agricultural expertise.

He also pointed out that the development also allowed for diversification, especially with the farm’s growing market demand.

The PSF is a professional organisation, dedicated to promote and represent the interests of the Rwandan business community. It is an umbrella organisation that groups 10 professional chambers.

It was established in December 1999, replacing the former Rwanda Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

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