The horticultural produce is seasonal and highly perishable, yet vegetables are widely produced and consumed in Rwanda with consumption on the rise. Rwanda is a net importer of tomato, with coffee and tea production being the main exports of the country. Post-harvest food loss refers to a measurable reduction in both the quality and quantity of produce produced from harvest to consumption. 

The problem of post-harvest losses is not just a national issue in Ghana but a global
menace which has the propensity to affect food security, environment sustainability and the economies of countries. Africa for decades had been experiencing post-harvest losses in the agriculture sector and Rwanda is not exceptional despite its technological advancement. 

Research conducted by the Horticulture Innovation Lab, University of California, Ministry of Agriculture, and Animal Resources in collaboration with USAID “suggest that 56% quantitative losses of produce occur from farm to market within the horticultural value chain”. 

These Losses of quantity reduce food supply, cause high food prices, and reduce farmers’ incomes whereas quality losses result in food being less nutritious thereby posing health issues to consumers, lower market prices and reduced incomes for farmers. The study substantially depicts the severity of post-harvest losses in the country. 

As part of the goal of AgroCold Ghana Limited to alleviate post-harvest losses and be the leading cold chain management company in Africa through our services, having participated in the Validate.Global program with support from Austrian Development Cooperation implemented by INiTS and Impact Hub Vienna, Austria, and its soft-landing partners Impact Hub Kigali, the company took the opportunity to conduct proof of concept and market research in Rwanda market with stakeholders in the horticultural industry specifically fruits and vegetables value chain to test the feasibility of our technology and understand market demands. 

The team surveyed the market to understand the market terrain, demand for cold chain services, conducted proof of concept, inquire regulations, explored synergies and opportunities to partner with farmer cooperatives who are in need of our services. In these weeks spent in the country, the company visited Nyabugogo market (largest market), Kimironko market (busiest market), Gisenyi collection point, and farmer cooperatives producing tomatoes, pineapples, carrots, etc. Industry players like TRUK Rwanda, GOT IT, Afri-Farmers Market, and Rwanda horticulture center of excellence were engaged to explore partnership opportunities. The lessons and data gathered are invaluable as it will aid the company in operating, forging partnerships and address post-harvest losses in Rwanda in the subsequent years. Attached is a picture of the company’s operations manager and Impact Hub Kigali team.