H.E Joan Wiegman, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Rwanda, stood alongside Mr. Jean Marie Vianney Munyaneza, Head of Division Export Services at NAEB and key partners flagged off the first reefer container trial shipment of avocado to Europe via Rotterdam, marking the second shipments of Rwandan sustainably produced avocados.
Only for the fiscal year 2022-2023, Rwanda exported avocado over 3.2 million kilograms worth EUR. 6.2 million. This brings to a total of EUR 13 million worth of avocados exported from Rwanda since 2018.
This event is the tangible fruit of a harmonious alignment between the Rwandan government and committed partners, including the invaluable contributions of IDH. Not to be overlooked, two eminent export companies, SOUK and Garden Fresh, played significant roles, underlining their leadership in the industry.
All these combined efforts were woven together as part of the visionary “Investing in Horticultural Development in Rwanda” (HortInvest). This project, funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Rwanda, is a profound commitment to the continued growth and prosperity of Rwanda’s horticulture sector.
The second wave of avocados, carefully sourced from farms scattered across the picturesque Rwandan landscape and dispatched from Kigali to their eagerly awaiting customers in the Netherlands, holds an unprecedented historical significance. It serves as a beacon of hope and a transformative moment within the horticulture industry, signalling an exploration of maritime routes as a potential solution to the incessant rise in transportation costs, a perpetual challenge faced by horticultural exporters that has hindered their access to the global market.
The Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands underscored: “The initiation of the second trial shipment marks a significant turning point in the history of horticultural exports from Rwanda to the European market. This aligns with the Netherlands’ policy to promote Sustainable Trade and Investment with Rwanda and signifies the start of a long-term journey that will require cooperation between the public and private sectors.
Mr. Jean Marie Vianney Munyaneza, Head of Division Export Services at NAEB, emphasised that this second European shipment follows the successful one executed in Dubai last year. This marks a vital milestone in the ongoing endeavors to diversify export logistics routes, with the strategic aim of bolstering Rwanda’s competitiveness in international markets.
“This second shipment is part of Rwanda’s Agriculture Transformation Strategic Plan, contributing to a larger project focused on increasing the competitiveness of Rwanda’s horticultural products”
Sylvie Nirere, Country Manager at IDH – Rwanda, emphasized, “This represents a significant milestone. If this second project successfully reduces carbon emissions and shipping costs for the European markets, it will open doors to numerous global buyers for Rwanda’s horticulture sector.”
Beyond the economic considerations, the choice to explore maritime routes is well-founded. The rising costs of airfreight, coupled with fragile and unreliable supply chains, have necessitated a shift toward more sustainable and cost-effective transportation systems. It’s a realization that the higher environmental carbon footprint associated with airfreight is not tenable in an evolving market focused on sustainability and efficiency. Sea freight emerges as a critical component in bringing this vision to fruition.