Bank of Kigali rakes in Rwf1.3 billion

97_photo_17353Bank of Kigali was the only active counter yesterday. The bank raked in Rwf1.3 billion, higher than the combined total turnover realised at the bourse the whole of last week, the Rwanda Stock Exchange market report for Monday indicates.

The counter sold over 4.5 million shares yesterday at Rwf296 each, which was an increase of Rwf1 compared to the Rwf295 on Monday last week.

Last week, the bourse recorded a combined total turnover of Rwf3.3 million.

Bralirwa and all the cross-listed counters – Uchumi Supermarkets, Equity Group, Nation Media Group and Kenya Commercial Bank – were quiet yesterday. Bralirwa’s share price was unchanged at Rwf379.

The Rwanda Stock Exchange Share Index (RSI) was down by 0.55 points, from 233.95 points last Monday to 233.4 points yesterday.

The bourse All Share Index (ALSI) also declined from 137.25 points last Monday to 137.16 points.

Source: New Times

NAEB reassures coffee farmers, exporters

CoffeThe National Agriculture Export Development Board (NAEB) is confident the country’s coffee quality will cushion farmers, processors and exporters against the current decline in prices on the international market.

According to Dr Celestin Gatarayiha, the head of coffee division at NAEB, Rwanda might also not be affected because it sells its coffee through contract buyers.

“Rwanda sells coffee through negotiated contracts with international stakeholders… we do not sell at the Mombasa auction,” explained Gatarayiha.

He added that Rwanda exports a sizeable amount of specialty coffee, which is not likely to be hit by price decline. The expert, however, noted that they are also looking to improve quality and increase volumes in order reduce the impact of international coffee price declines.

“Buyers like quality coffee, and will pay handsomely regardless of whether there is an increase is supply,” said, noting that some of the coffees on the world market do not match Rwanda coffee quality.

He, however, said ordinary coffee was likely to be affected by the drop in global coffee prices.

Gatarayiha was responding to recent big declines in coffee prices at the Mombasa auction and at the world’s largest auction in New York, where prices have dropped by over 22 per cent.

The decline has been attributed to increase supply of coffee on the world market, especially from Brazil and Colombia, the major growers, and poor quality beans in some coffee exporting countries.

By mid-March, a 50-kilogramme bag of coffee had dropped from a high of $279 last month (202,275) to $228 (Rwf165,300) at the Mombasa auction.

A pound of coffee was 134 US cents down from the 168 US cents at New York Coffee Exchange.
Gatarayiha said the development was unlikely to affect Rwanda’s earnings from coffee exports, arguing that increased productivity will fill any gaps created by decline in prices.

The minimum price for unprocessed coffee is still at Rwf170 per kilo. However, due to better contracts with exporters, some farmers are paid Rwf250 per kilogramme, especially for specialty coffees.

Rwanda exported a total of 15,970 tonnes of coffee worth $59.68 million last year, up from $54.9 million in 2013, when 19,990 tonnes of coffee was exported.

Exporters, processors speak out

Local experts say they do not ship out coffee around this time of the year.

They however expressed concern; saying if prices continue the down-ward trend at the world market, they could lose “considering the price we are paying farmers presently”, said Jeremie Iyakaremye from Unguka Muhinzi Company in Kirehe District, which sells to American customers.

Iyakaremye also said they sign contracts around this period and start exporting from May to August. He was confident that since they sell high-quality specialty coffee (fully-washed green coffee), they would most likely not be affected by the current drop in prices.

“When you sign an export contract, price declines do not affect you,” Iyakaremye said. He added that the only worry would be if their buyers offer low prices “under the pretext that international coffee prices have dropped.

Iyakaremye said last season’s minimum contract price was $4.3 (Rwf3117.5) per kilogramme.
Some exporters told Business Times that the decline could affect those that have not yet signed price contracts.

However, Jean Nepo Habyarimana from Muhondo coffee Company in Gakenke District said the decline might not affect them, arguing they sell quality of Arabica green coffee.

“Last season, we sold a kilo of specialty coffee at $5.5 (Rwf3987.5) to buyers from the UK and America, who sell on the international market. We pay farmers Rwf230 per kilo of unprocessed coffee,” he said.

Immy Kamalade from Dallas Investment Company in Nyarugenge said they will know their fate in the coming months. His firm quoted a kilo of fully-washed at $5 last year.

Therese Nyirangwabije from Gakenke District said they sell at different prices, depending on clients.

Arabica coffee represents more than 98 per cent of all the coffees produced in Rwanda, while Robusta represents less than two per cent. Processed coffee (roasted and packaged) accounts for about 2% of the total coffee produced.

Source: New Times

From Rwf30, 000, Muneza has built a multi-million business empire

Modern agriculture was hitherto seen by most residents of the Eastern Province as preserve of the well-to-do; those with ‘waste’.

But this was before Jean Bosco Muneza, a model farmer in Karubungo cell, Gitoki sector in Gatsibo District, demystified this myth seven years ago. To many Gatsibo District residents, Muneza’s name is “Farmer”.

Whenever one talks about commercial farming in the district and Eastern Province, generally, most residents will direct them to Muneza’s farm.

Takes on President’s challenge

Like most successful business people, Muneza says he was inspired by President Paul Kagame’s speech on job-creation.

“I was listening to Radio Rwanda (now RBA Radio) when I had the President challenging Rwandans to stop lamenting about poverty and unemployment when are not doing anything to change their situation,” he says.

He adds that afterwards, he reviewed his living standards and asked himself if he had done enough to improve his livelihood.

“But I was shocked that I was largely to blame for the poverty I was wallowing in. Since then I resolved to do something to turn round the situation,” he notes.

“I had always dreamt of becoming a big farmer. Naturally, I was inclined to the agriculture sector, in which I believed I had some basic skills to do a decent job,” he adds.

Muneza points out that a few months after the President’s speech; he started a pineapple growing project.

He says he used his small savings of about Rwf30,000 to buy 1,000 pineapple suckers, which he planted on a two-hectare piece of land.

Shot in the arm

Around the same time, he was seconded by local leaders for assistance earmarked for the less privileged residents by World Vision. He says the assistance involved World Vision paying for his children’s education, as well as farmer training programmes.

“I was relieved and glad that my children would access quality education. This strengthened my resolve to pursue my dream in farming,” he explains.

He says World Vision extension staff trained him and other farmers in modern farming, which improved his crop husbandry skills.

“With the skills, I passionately looked after the plantation and waited patiently. I was always calculating how much I would earn when they start production… This was my first step to a better future, so I could not take any chances,” he points out.

Sky is the limit

He says World Vision also supported him with 111,000 pineapple suckers, which he planted on four hectares of land.

“I could now see my dream taking shape…I could see myself as the biggest farmer in our locality. I was determined to make commercial farming a pedestal for a better future for my family,” Muneza says.

He says after a year, the pineapple suckers had multiplied to 63,000, which he sold to World Vision at Rwf6.4 million.

“In my entire life, I had never saved Rwf200,000, but now I was a millionaire. I was overwhelmed, and started planning the things I could do with the money,” says Muneza.

He notes that he pushed aside temptations to use the cash for luxuries and decided to expandthe project and diversify into banana growing.

He says he had been studying banana farming over time and was impressed by the returns from, improved breeds of bananas. “I decided to give it a try,” he says.

“I used some of the money from pineapple sucker sales to buy three additional hectares of land at Rwf3 million to grow improved bananas. I also bought two Friesian cows because I knew that besides selling milk, I could get manure for my banana and pineapple plantations,” he says.

Muneza says that he has since expanded the banana plantation to six hectares, while the dairy project boasts of seven dairly cows.

National model farmer

He says his hard work was noticed by the Ministry of Agriculture, which has nominated him on several occasions to participate in various national agricultural exhibitions.

As they say, knowledge not shared is as well as useless. So, Muneza says he has outreach programmes where he helps other farmers in the area to improve their farming methods and acquire improved seeds.

“Muneza’s transformation is a lesson to all Rwandans,” says Joseph Munyarukumbuzi, one of his neighbours.

“He was among the poorest people in the sector, but he now owns the most beautiful house in the entire village. His children are studying in one of the best schools in Kabarore town.”

Munyarukumbuzi says all these are fruits of hard work, commitment and passion that Muneza has exhibited. His success has inspired Gitoki residents to engage in farming as a business and a means to fight household poverty among the community.

Fruits of hard work

Besides crop agriculture, Muneza is also a prosperous dairy farmer, with seven Friesian cows to his name. He sells the milk to the community and nearby towns.

“I have been able to buy two Fuso trucks, which take my produce to Kigali, and ferry fertilisers and manure to the banana and pineapple plantations. I also hire them out, bringing in more income,” Muneza notes.

His wife owns the only pharmacy in neighbourhood, which saves the community from walking long distances to get medicines.

He employs 14 permanent workers who help him in the plantations and dairy farm activities.
Muneza says he saves about Rwf750,000 a month on average.

He has not forgotten that knowledge is power, and a few years back he enrolled for studies and recently graduated with a bachelor’s of education degree, majoring in economics, from the Institute of Agriculture, Technology and Education (INATEK).

“Although I achieved my other dream of being a university graduate, I won’t be moving around looking for jobs…I am a job-creator,” he says.

Challenges

Muneza says challenges still exist despite his success. “We still face shortage of fertilisers and pesticides, which sometimes leads to poor yields. Low produce prices also affect growth of the sector as farmers lose morale and under produce or abandon agriculture,” he notes.

He, however, says he has put in place measures to overcome some of the challenges.

“I have increased the number of cattle so as to get enough manure and I am working with the local agronomists to help me fight pests and diseases,” he says.

He adds that he is in negotiations with different buyers to widen his market and get better prices for his produce.

He urges the government to help farmers get improved seeds, access extensional services in their locality and put price caps on all crops to safeguard farmers from unscrupulous middlemen.

“The government should also find better markets for us in the region and internationally, help farmers get loans and agro-training, especially in commercial farming,” he says.

One for all

Every Friday, people who are interested in modern farming converge at Muneza’s farms to learn from his winning tips. He also gives free improved suckers to those who wish to engage in banana farming.

This has enabled some to start their own commercial farming projects.

Majyambere, who owns a promising banana plantation in Gatoki sector, is one of the beneficiaries.

“Muneza is our inspiration, a trainer and a model farmer that we owe a lot in our community,” he says.

Winning formula

Muneza advises farmers to always plan their projects well and be focused. He adds that only those that dare to dream big and take that extra-mile achieve goals.

“Besides embracing modern farming practices, seeds and technology, be passionate about what you do and give farming additional time.

“The size of your farm should depend on the size of your dream, creativity and innovation. Avoid taking on too much than you can ably handle financially and in terms of personnel,” he counsels.

Source: New Times

Presidents Kagame, Nkurunziza meet in Huye border town

kagame_lg-kx-cohPresident Paul Kagame, yesterday, received his Burundian counterpart Pierre Nkurunziza in Huye District.

During the meeting, President Nkurunziza briefed Kagame on the current situation in Burundi.

To-date, Rwanda has received over 4,000 refugees from Burundi. President Kagame enquired about reports in the media of pre-election tension and the alleged potential for violence, a statement from the President’s office said.

The two presidents also discussed regional cooperation in various sectors.

The meeting took place in the border town of Huye where Kagame had on Sunday met with students at the University of Rwanda–Huye campus as well as opinion leaders.

Source: New Times

Seychelles Tourism Board and Reunion Island Tourism office pave the way for closer cooperation

logotemplate.seychellesThe Seychelles Tourism Board and the Reunion Island Tourism (IRT) office have signed a memorandum of understanding for tourism promotion.

The agreement signed between Patrick Serveaux, President of the Reunion Island Tourism (IRT) office and Sherin Naiken, the Chief Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board, paves the way for both entities to consolidate existing working partnerships and work on new grounds for cooperation in tourism.

Present to witness the signing were Didier Robert, the Senator of Reunion Island and President of the Regional Council of Reunion Island, and Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture.

The agreement makes provisions for the Seychelles Tourism Board to post one of its representatives in the Reunion Island Tourism (IRT) office, promotion of the cruise line industry, and promotion of Seychelles “Secret Brand” for the Reunion Island market, among others. Patrick Serveaux said this agreement is a perfect chance for Seychelles and Reunion Island to work together on mutual grounds of interest.

“We are both islands in the Indian Ocean with great potentials. We need to support each other to move forward and reach our common objectives,” said Mr. Serveaux.

He said the posting of a Seychelles representative in the tourism office will boost the ties which already exist between the two tourism entities. Miss Naiken emphasized on the renewed working partnership and willingness for the Seychelles Tourism Board and Reunion Island Tourism (IRT) office to consolidate their working relationship. The agreement was signed during a press conference organized by the Regional Council of Reunion Island.

It was Didier Robert, Senator and President of Reunion Island, who opened the press conference, attended by a strong bank of Reunion Island press.

Didier Robert spoke at length on Reunion Island’s successes in achieving 187,400 travelers for the first semester of 2015.

He said the renewal of a partnership between the Seychelles Tourism Board and the Reunion Island Tourism (IRT) office is a testimony of the continued goodwill of Seychelles and Reunion Island to work together.

He also touched base on the Vanilla Islands, of which he chaired as the President.

On this issue, he paid particular attention to combine packages for the Vanilla Islands.

He said the triangular combined packages can also be workable for Seychelles.

Minister St.Ange of the Seychelles said when he took the floor that the memorandum of understanding is a step in the right direction.

“No island is an island onto itself. I salute Reunion and the goodwill displayed by Reunion Island to work with us. We have here a real chance to work together and consolidate our efforts,” the Minister stated.

Lionnel Majeste Larrouy, French Ambassador to Seychelles, gave his blessing for the new bridge built between Reunion Island and Seychelles.

Source: Eturbo News

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