NIRDA’s Open Calls Program empowers eight value chains with upgraded equipment

On 30 October 2023 at 09:07

In a bid to propel local industries towards greater productivity and competitiveness, the National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA) has embarked on a transformative journey.

Through their innovative Open Calls Program, NIRDA has been empowering companies across eight diverse value chains with upgraded equipment, breathing new life into Rwanda’s industrial landscape.

The Open Calls Program, introduced by NIRDA in 2018, is a beacon of hope for companies seeking to elevate their operations. It operates as an open competition, where enterprises can apply for support to acquire state-of-the-art equipment that catalyzes the production of locally made products within various value chains.

Over time, NIRDA has steadfastly implemented the Open Calls Program across eight pivotal value chains. This brings the number to 10 value chains supported through Open Calls.

In the Agriculture sector, NIRDA has ushered in a farming revolution in three value chains namely poultry, piggery and animal feeds.

Companies acquired fully automated feed plant, automated eggs grading, and tray-making machines. NIRDA also acquired aflatoxin readers to ensure top-notch product quality. In addition, modern farms and abattoirs have been equipped with cutting-edge technology to raise the bar for pig production. To keep products fresh, cooling facilities and refrigerated trucks have been introduced.

The urbanization sector has also seen remarkable advancements in two value chains namely stone and clay for construction materials. Companies acquired CNC Bridge saws and automated edge-polishing machines. Lime production and crushing plants are also paving the way for progress, while Caterpillar excavator and automated brick-making machines are building the future, one block at a time.

NIRDA has been working with the Belgian Development Agency (Enabel) to support value chains in both agriculture and urbanization sectors. Selected firms acquired upgraded equipment at a 50% grand, 50% loan, zero interest and no collateral.

In Wood Processing Value Chain, NIRDA is crafting excellence through a range of equipment, from CBM Wood Kilns to CNC Nesting machines. Panel saws, polishing, and planning machines are delivering precision like never before.

The introduction of hot presses for plywood, stainless steel, and temperature control is setting a new standard in woodwork.

In the Fruits and Vegetables Value Chain, companies have not only acquired upgraded equipment but have also received zero-interest loans and collateral-free support, empowering them to boost their production and quality.

In a strategic partnership with OCP Group and the South Africa Trade and Development Bank, one company in Cow in the Car Value Chain is set to acquire technology through a grant, further enhancing this value chain.

As these success stories continue to unfold, NIRDA remains committed to fostering industrial growth in Rwanda. Beyond equipment acquisition, NIRDA offers business development services and technical assistance, reinforcing their commitment to the long-term success of supported companies.

Beneficiaries speak out

Some beneficiaries who received the upgraded equipment have expressed gratitude and commitment to make the equipment more productive.

"All the machines you see here were given by the National Industrial Research and development Agency (NIRDA) through its Open Calls Program. We applied for the support and we were selected from many other companies. We have acquired all the equipment as a 50% grant, 50% loan with zero interest, no collateral," said Jean Paul Hanganimana, Managing Director, and Regional Food Processing Industry

Etienne Uwimana, Managing Director, ALCOMEC expressed gratitude to NIRDA and Enabel for providing upgraded equipment.

"The machine was acquired as 50% grant, 50% loan no interest rate, this is a huge support and we are so grateful," he noted.

Yves Nkubito, owner of Nkubito Enterprise also expressed similar sentiments.

"It was not easy at first because we used traditional and old machines and manual ways, with NIRDA support; we acquired upgraded machines on a loan that we will pay at zero interest rate," he said.

Dr. Christian Sekomo Birame, NIRDA Director General, expressed his optimism about the program’s impact.

“We are delighted that the majority of firms selected have acquired upgraded equipment, and we hope that this will boost productivity and competitiveness of locally made products and create more decent and productive jobs," he said, calling for more innovations using the acquired products.

“NIRDA’s Open Calls Program, supported by our dedicated partners, is indeed a catalyst for industrial growth. It reflects the government’s unwavering commitment to empowering local companies and fostering economic development,” de added.

According to IGLESIAS ROA Manuel, Enabel’s Country Portfolio Manager, Enabel engagement with NIRDA has predominantly revolved around two key sectors namely urbanization, under the Enabel Urban Economic Initiative (UEDi), and agriculture, through Partnership for Resilient and Inclusive Small Livestock Markets (PRISM).

“We have been greatly impressed by NIRDA’s Open Calls program and have eagerly joined in the mission to enhance industrial productivity and competitiveness, ensuring that more high-quality, locally produced goods are available,” he said.

“Today, we are proud to witness several companies benefiting from the Open Calls program, obtaining advanced equipment and making significant strides in their respective industries,” he added.

NIRDA’s Open Calls Program, supported by partners like the Belgian Development Agency Enabel in Rwanda and the Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD), is indeed a catalyst for industrial growth.

In a world of evolving industries, this initiative stands as a testament to Rwanda’s commitment to competitiveness and innovation.

It showcases the government’s dedication to empowering local companies and fostering economic development.