There is a good chance you are a regular consumer of products produced by SINA Gerald/Ese URWIBUTSO, also known as Nyirangarama. Akabanga, Agashya, Akanozo and Akarusho, among others, are not only popular in Rwanda but also overseas.
Nyirangarama Village is a popular stopover among travelers heading to Musanze and Rubavu. Sales recorded at this complex or any other outlet across the country and beyond have a trickle down effect in the local community. The role played by this venture in transforming the livelihoods of the people is undeniable.
I noticed Nyirangarama’s strong presence in the area on the first day of my tour of Rulindo. While riding to the Rusiga Genocide Memorial, SINA Gerald’s unique advert caught my attention. During the remembrance ceremony later on, I was offered a bottle of Akandi drinking water, produced by the same enterprise.
Rulindo has its fair share of coffee and tea fields. Apart from the two iconic crops, the district produces stevia, flowers, fruits, spices, staples, grapes — you name them. Deliberate efforts are being made to unlock the district’s agribusiness potential. Its close proximity to Kigali makes it easier for farmers to reach the local and international markets.
More and more farmers in the area are eyeing opportunities in food processing. "We are mobilizing resources and investors in order to take our endeavors to the next level." Says Hategekimana Jean Damascene, a resident of Shyorongi Sector. Hategekimana draws inspiration from SINA Gerald, the entrepreneur who built the Nyirangarama empire.
As mentioned above, Nyirangarama products are popular in and outside Rwanda. My US-based Liberian friend can’t do without Akabanga while my Europe-based Congolese friend ensures his stock of Akanozo is replenished regularly. I once met someone in Kenya who claimed to be addicted to Agashya.
During my ongoing tour of Rulindo, I will visit farms and processing units in order to learn more about the supply chain of these products and their impact in the community. I will also roll up my sleeves and participate in the day-to-day economic activities of those who are behind this success story.
The author is visiting all 30 districts of Rwanda. His tour of Rulindo is sponsored by Ikaze Rwanda Tours & Travel, The Peakspot Lodge, My Hill Ecolodge, Rusiga Highland Resort and Beyond the Gorillas Experiences (BGE).