ProjectCo-packing in Rwanda
Rwandan smallholder farmers are amongst Africa's most organized and productive. However, there is relatively little value addition and few processed local products hit the supermarket shelves. The cost and complexity of processing and packaging products to the necessary standard is an insurmountable barrier for most farmers and rural entrepreneurs. In high income countries like the US, smallholder farmers as well as micro and small entrepreneurs face similar challenges. The difference is that they can easily surmount this challenge by contracting a co-packer or co-manufacturer to efficiently and cost effectively produce a high quality product for them. With no similar service provider in Rwanda, value addition is left to a few entrepreneurs, and the oversupply of fresh produce at harvest times leads to low prices and post-harvest losses for many farmers.
Transforming the challenges of the rural agro-processing sector into an opportunity, Endeva is working to develop and test an innovative business approach that can make agro-processing an exciting and promising activity for the target group: rural youth and smallholder farmers. The co-packer model will be adapted to meet the needs of this target group. The business will provide agro-entrepreneurs with a range of services to transform local produce into high-value products and sell them to national supermarkets and beyond. Services may include support for quality control, branding and design, processing, packaging, marketing and access to markets. An additional feature will be an IT platform to create transparency on costs and prices along the value chain. By effectively promoting high-growth entrepreneurship in the rural agro-processing sector, the project aims to increase employment opportunities and income for youth and smallholders, and strengthen the wider rural economy.
Endeva is currently developing a business plan, based on a feasibility study conducted in Rwanda, and seeking partners for the implementation of the pilot. Read more on the co-packer website!