Rutsiro Honey Ltd, a natural honey producing plant in Rutsiro district, Western Rwanda has announced plans to start producing four brands of wine by the end of the year.
The plans were revealed during an exhibition of its natural bee honey products from Mukura and Gishwati forests, certified with an S-Mark from the Rwanda Standards Bureau (RSB).
Marie Chantal Nyirakamineza, the Managing Director of Rutsiro Honey Ltd encouraged local and global honey consumers and markets to use their products which have been proven to be healthy and high standards.
Nyirakamineza says that since their establishment in 2018 the company has moved from a production capacity of 3% to 17% and the bigger plan is to increase both quality and quantity of honey on the market.
Rutsiro Honey Ltd is one of the companies that benefit from the national industry program- Community Processing Centres (CPC) – “Uruganda Iwacu” aimed at promoting and facilitating private companies to produce made in Rwanda products.
The honey factory produces about four tons of natural honey per month which is sold on both the local and global markets.
Nyirakamineza said that their honey products are very popular in Rwanda and international markets because of the quality and standard.
“Our honey products (Gishwati Honey) can be found in all shops and many buy it because it is natural and healthy. We have also had our product quality tested in Europe (UK and Germany) and in the Arab nations, and the feedback we got is that we have quality natural honey,” Nyirakamineza said.
In Rwanda, there are only four honey brands that have been certified to sell on the global and regional markets. These include Gishwati, Nyungwe, Akagera and Ibirunga Honey brands.
Nyirakamineza said that their honey quality is maintained by processing the raw products without any additives which is why the quality has been appreciated and certified by the standards bureau.
The National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA), is a government institution that has been mandated with a mission to enable a generation of industrial innovators to become competitive through technology monitoring, acquisition, development and transfer and applied research.
Dr. Christian Sekomo Birame, the Director General NIRDA said that Rutsiro Honey ltd is one of the best performing community processing initiatives promoting the Made-in-Rwanda agenda which can be seen in other areas like Rwamagana banana wine and Nyabihu potatoes processing plants.
Rutsiro Honey Ltd officials revealed that they plan to start producing wine made out of natural honey by end of 2021. This will have four brands made out Honey wine, Honey-Ginger wine, Honey and Passion, and Honey and Pineapple wines.
Officials said this will increase income of beekeeping communities around Gishwati and Mukura parks but also improve nature tourism activities around the national parks.
“Park visitors will be able to tour our activities but also buy our honey and wine,” Nyirakamineza said.
Rutsiro Honey Ltd works with a cooperative of beekeepers UNICOAPIGI- which brings together five associations operating in Gishwati and Mukura national parks.
Jean Damascène Hakizimana, the chairperson of the union says that Rutsiro Honey Ltd has given their farmers a good and consistent market for their harvest (12-15tons of honey) and also research support from NIRDA as a result of dealing with the company.
In the meantime, bee farmers ask government to intervene in solving challenge of reducing bees caused by reducing forest cover due to deforestation, use of agro-chemical which repels bees- of which they said can be done through planting more flowering trees and research on use of non-toxic farm inputs.