Rwanda: Young Entrepreneur Finds Opportunity in Pesticides

18 February 2020

Growing up, Jacques Habinshuti saw the struggles his parents and other farmers went through in an effort to acquire pesticides to control pests.

He experienced first-hand the effects of insects and other organisms to farmers' productivity and concurrent losses.

This led him to seek a solution to put an end to the state of affairs.

The 23-year-old grew up in Karongi District, Western part of the country. The economy of the district relies on the cultivation of tea, coffee, maize, beans, Irish potatoes, banana plantation, and fruits.

His parents were framers mostly growing fruits and maize and relied on imported pesticide whose availability and affordability was often affected by prices and affordability.

Habinshuti's dream was to venture into the production of locally made organic pesticides that would be easy to access as well as affordable for the entire community and impactful in preventing losses in the future.

Since he didn't have enough capital, after high school, he borrowed some money from his elder brother, to open up a small shop within his area, selling foodstuff.

"I didn't want to get a loan or burden my parents on getting the required capital. This made me come up with a way of saving money to achieve my dream," he says.

He started with few commodities, and as time went by, he grew his stock.

As luck would have it, his shop was the only one within his area, which made him popular with many frequent clients and consequently higher returns.

This, he said, helped him get a good number of customers and after only six months in operation, he was able to get some capital to start out what he wanted.

With a capital of Rwf 350, 000, he started making organic pesticide.

His organic pesticide utilizes tobacco and garlic as the main ingredients.

He gets these raw materials from planting them on his small piece of land, as well as buying some.

His production process involves harvesting, blending the ingredients, sorting residue, drying them before further processing the mixture to get the pesticide.

The business goes by the name NIGIRE HJ Company, based in Karongi District.

Previously, he said farmers had to pay relatively high prices for pesticides. For instance, a litre went for about Rwf 3,000. He sells the same quantity at half the price.

At the same time, the pesticide was imported, which made it hard for most farmers to access it when needed.

From the business, he said he has been able to expand his shop, where he sells different types of products.

The farmers, he said incur fewer losses because they have been able to manage their crops on time.

Apart from the community benefiting from pesticides, he is glad that he has been able to make a difference to some people within his locality through employment creation.

"So far, I retained five young people, who help me with my daily activities and at the end of the day, they go home with at least Rwf 2ooo each," he said.

He said that he has equipped them with the necessary skills which can help them start up their own business.

He added that in the countryside, having an income-generating activity is one of the ways that can reduce the chances of the youth getting involved in vices such as drug abuse and crime.

Meanwhile, depending on the business, he said he gets a profit of Rwf 50,000 to Rwf 100,000 a month.

Habinshuti said lack of skills in his field is the main setback.

One of the worker making final products ready for sell

Tobacco grown on his fram in Karongi District

Habinshuti sorting out raw materials before mixing them to make pesticide

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