Based in Rutsiro district, the firm owns a factory processing honey sourced from cooperatives practicing beekeeping in Gishwati forest.
It is a joint venture between Rutsiro district, NIRDA and beekeepers’ cooperatives practicing beekeeping in the surroundings of Gishwati-Mukura National Park.
With Rwanda Standards Board (RSB) S-Mark, the firm’s honey products are well packaged to be traded in Rwanda and exported.
Speaking at the event held on 3rd September 2021, some of beekeepers attested transformed livelihoods, thanks to Rutsiro Honey Ltd which provided market and helped them to shift from traditional to modern beekeeping practices.
Jean Damascene Hakizimana is the President of Union des Cooperative des Apiculuteurs de Gishwati, a union of five beekeepers’ cooperatives who revealed how beekeepers have started yielding big. As he explained, beekeepers have increased income that they want to buy more shares.
“Before working with Rutsiro Honey Ltd, we would keep our produce in clay pots which we used to sell at giveaway prices. The situation has changed for good since we started working with the factory which buys all the produce. It has changed beekeepers lives; we have received modern beehives that the produce increased significantly,” he said.
“Beekeepers are leading decent life, subscribe for Mutuelle de Santé and cater for their children’s school fees among other needs. We are currently seeking how to acquire shares previously owned by the Government as part of plans to continue expanding activities,” added Hakizimana.
Marie Chantal Nyirakamineza, the Managing Director of Rutsiro Honey Ltd has said that produced honey products have attracted clientele at the local and international market.
“Credited for quality and natural taste, our honey is traded in different shops across Rwanda. It has been also certified on European markets particularly in Germany following sample tests proving that our honey is of high quality standard without additional ingredients,” she explained.
The mayor of Rutsiro district, Emerance Ayinkamiye said that beekeeping has been modernized and contributes to economic growth in no smaller part.
“Beekeeping has evolved and is no longer considered a primitive business. Residents are reaping big; supply to the factory which also contributes to national development through taxes and provides jobs. This reflects how this business has a significant impact to the district’s economy,” she noted.
The Director General of NIRDA, Dr. Christian Sekomo Birame commended the firm’s activities and promised support to introduce more products in the near future.
“The factory’s smooth operations and stern management are commendable. We are working together to help them introduce four types of wines in the near future as enshrined in the firm’s plans since inception. Beekeepers also expressed interest to buy more than 50% of shares owned by the Government. We are convinced that shares should not be given to third parties yet local farmers expressed interest with means to do so,” he said.
Established in 2018, Rutsiro Honey factory has the capacity to process 160 tonnes per annum. It currently operates at 17% capacity. It is planning to upgrade to start producing four brands of wine including Honey wine, Honey-Ginger wine, Honey and Pineapple as well as Honey and Passion wines by the end of 2021.