The country’s largest brewer, Bralirwa, and fine maize producer Minimex are working on a multimillion farm project in a bid to reduce imports used in the manufacture of its beer products.
The farm project called Bramin is a joint venture covering 650 hectares given by the government in 2010 in Ndego sector in Kayonza district, bordering Akagera National Park.
The farm will mainly produce maize, but will also grow other crops like Irish potatoes, barley and other vegetables.
Bralirwa will need the maize produce to brew its beers, especially with the newly introduced Heineken, launched last year.
“We have seen a dramatic rise in production. In 2010, we managed four tonnes per hectare, but now we can expect nine tonnes. We believe it will be 12 tonnes per hectare by next year,” said Stanislas Nsabimana, deputy director in charge of agriculture at Bramin.
Heineken Group, which owns 75 per cent of Bralirwa shares, targets to get 60 per cent of its raw materials from countries it has its factories in.
Rwanda is the latest recipient of such a factory and Bramin is intended to help the company reach this milestone.
Heineken Group also has factories in Ethiopia, South Africa, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Namibia, and Nigeria.
This move will help Bralirwa face tightening competition in the local brewery industry, which had seen new entrants in recent years.
The move will also mean a reduction in production costs, promote local production and boost customer loyalty.
“We want to get many of our raw materials from Rwanda because it helps improve livelihoods,” said Aline Pascal Batamuriza, from the co-operate affairs and communication department in Bralirwa.
The cost of Heineken bottles was reduced from Rwf1,000 to Rwf800.