The National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA) on Wednesday launched four selected value chains in a bid to help firms that will be eligible to leverage technology to boost competitiveness and productivity.
The four value chains include poultry, piggery, animal feeds and stone. These will be done through the 2020-2021 NIRDA Open Calls Program. Technology audits were carried out on ach value chain to identify gaps and potential interventions needed in the each sector
Winners in the open calls are supported to acquire, adapt and make better use of technology such as upgraded equipment to address technological and technical barriers hence improve productivity and competitiveness of locally made products.
The Open Calls Program aims at bringing firms or industries’ businesses in the selected value chains to the next level by acquiring upgraded equipment such as machines and other technologies
NIRDA is partnering with NABEL-Belgian Development Agency in the implementation of the four value chains.
According to Christian Twahirwa, NIRDA’s Acting Director General, supporting the mentioned value chains to upgrade their technologies would boosting the productivity and competitiveness of locally made products.
He noted that Open calls program is done in a transparent way where we call upon firms in the selected value chain to compete for support to acquire upgraded equipment with advanced technology, technical and business advisory support altogether.
“Through its mandate to support industries to become competitive on local and international market, NIRDA has committed to supporting firms in different selected value chains by helping them improve their competitiveness and productivity,” he said.
“We believe this will reduce imported products and substitute on exports. We believe that the private sector is a key player towards improving the national economy,” he added.
The Open Calls program, he said informs on the potential for Upgrading (move to higher value added component of value chain), Extending (actions to broaden an existing value chain to increase its full potential of job creation and value added impact and Optimizing (actions to improve operation of certain links of the value chain to achieve greater value added).
“We believe that supporting firms engaged in the piggery, poultry, Animals feeds will improve the competitiveness and productivity of various products through a diversified modern technology given the market demand of respective processed products,” he said.
“Equally, Rwanda still import construction materials and yet there are enough natural stones including volcanic rocks. We need to support firms in the stone value chain so that they leverage technology to produce competitive construction materials, which can reduce the gap of imported materials. This would also bring down the cost of such construction materials,” he added.
Selected firms will be helped to acquire upgraded equipment on interest free loans provided without collateral, the support which will be channeled through Development Bank Rwanda (BRD).
Under the National Strategy for Transformation (NST1), which is, also the 7 Years Government program in its economic transformation pillar, the government seeks to accelerate inclusive economic growth and development founded on the private sector as the drive.
NST1 underlines, among others the need to create 214,000 decent and productive jobs annually and at promoting industrialization and attaining a structural shift in the export base to high-value goods and services with the aim of growing exports by 17% annually.
Speaking during the launch Antoine Kajangwe, the Director general of Trade and Industry from the ministry of trade and industry hailed ENABEL for its efforts to support firms in the selected value chains saying that it would help develop competent firms that will also improve the quality of what they do hence improving the economy of the country.
“Food processing is key and we need to leverage technology to produce quality-processed products such as pig meat and poultry meat while also improving technologies on packaging, meat handling and storage procedures among other facilities,” he said.
“It will equally be important having industries or firms which process stone materials such as granite, marble, tiles among others. We still export a big quantity of products from stone processed materials, which makes it more expensive and unaffordable, and producing them locally would solve that problem,” he added.
According to Dirk Deprez, Enabel Resident Representative in Rwanda, the partnership with Rwanda and Belgium in Agriculture and urbanisation sectors aspires to enable more firms’ productivity and competitiveness on local and regional market.
“We believe this will boost the made in Rwanda construction materials while increasing the job creation as well as Rwanda’s economic growth,” he said.