14 January 2013

Rwanda: Japan to Support Post-Harvest Handling

THE RWANDA Development Board has partnered with the government of Japan to conduct a survey on the needs for assistance in post-harvest handling of agricultural products, especially for Small and Medium size Enterprises (SMEs).

Japan is being represented by its foreign affairs ministry.

The project that started in October last year and is expected to be complete by March, is being conducted in selected agricultural areas in the country, governmental agencies and cooperatives, among others.

Esebe Muhukira, the head of Trade and Manufacturing department in Rwanda Development Board (RDB), said the project will also help farmers improve production and give them a chance to get capital from foreign companies.

"Most of our Small and Medium scale Enterprises can't access loans for lack of collateral, so with such investment and techniques in place, their machinery will act as collateral," Muhukira said.

The survey is carried out jointly by Japanese research firm, Mizuho Information and Research Institution, and tech company ICNet Limited in collaboration with RDB.

Kunio Hatanaka, the Japanese ambassador to Rwanda, said the objective will help both Japan's and Rwanda's SMEs to cooperate and improve production.

"Our Ministry of Foreign Affairs would like to enable Japanese companies with advance technology for adding value to their products," Amb. Hatanaka said.

Toshiki Muzuno, the ICNet Ltd project coordinator in, said Japanese SMEs have accumulated experience in the field and are expected to cooperate with developing countries in order to strengthen value chain by reducing losses of food.

The purpose of the project is to match the needs in developing countries to improve processing, distribution, safety-evaluation and methods used by SMEs.

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