30-year-old Rwandan entrepreneur inks $2 million deal to export chilli to China

Nduta Waweru November 12, 2018

One of the highlights of the first China International Import Expo is a $2 million business deal between one of Africa’s youngest entrepreneurs and China.

Rwanda’s Diego Twahirwa, the owner of Gashora farm, inked the deal with China’s Kai Jiang Xian zi Wei Food last week that will see him export chilli to the Asian nation starting November 2018 until May 2019 reports The New Times.

Twahirwa started Gashora Farm, a supplier of agro-products, back in 2015 after quitting his job as an agronomist at a pyrethrum firm.  He did not immediately get into the chilli business, but once he got into it, there was no turning back.

“There is an insatiable market out there for all varieties of chilli peppers, and their harvesting period is shorter and prices more stable than with tea and coffee,”  Twahirwa said in 2017.

Rwanda is known for its tea and coffee and has won a number of awards for their products across the world.

His farm is already exporting chilli and chilli oil to countries like the UK, U.S., Belgium, France, India, Netherlands and Switzerland.

The demand for chilli from Gashora Farm grew so fast that Twahirwa had to expand from six hectares to 160 hectares according to the World Bank.  As of 2017, he was harvesting ten metric tons of dry chilli every season.

Some of the products the farm offers include fresh chilli, hybrid chilli and Dry African Bird eye chilli, which he also presented in China during the expo.

“What I noticed is that Chinese were very interested and willing to buy products made from Africa and they consider my product as innovation because they are not accustomed to chilly oil. Usually, they do not buy few things; they buy in big quantities,” he told Taarifa.

He also said that the Chinese market for African products is booming because “they have money.”

“I have noticed that all the people here would like to distribute our products, and they are willing to buy everything here. They have money, and trust African products.”

The deal for Twahirwa means that he does not need to worry about price volatility for some time and he would be able to not only stabilise his company but also improve packaging to make the products more competitive in the market.

This is just one of Twahirwa’s win. In August, he was nominated for Young Entrepreneur Awards at 2018 World Forum for Export Development 2018 (WEDF 2018).

Last Edited by:Francis Akhalbey Updated: February 14, 2019


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