CPCIC Facilitates Exposure Visit for SMEs in Circular Food Systems

The Cleaner Production and Climate Innovation Centre (CPCIC) successfully concluded a five-day exposure visit for SMEs participating in the Circular Food Systems Project (CIRF).

This initiative aimed to equip participants with practical knowledge on circular business models ,technologies, and market access strategies, empowering them to build stronger trade relationships and contribute to a sustainable future for Rwanda's agri-food sector.

The exposure visit that started from 27 May until Friday 31stMay 2024 brought together participants from various SMEs engaged in the CIRF project.

Through expertly facilitated visits, these entrepreneurs gained firsthand experience at leading companies in organic fertilizers, vermicomposting, animal feed production, innovative mushroom farming, and briquette production.

According to Germaine Hirwa, Acting Chief Executive Officer of CPCIC, the exposure visit was significant as it equipped participants with experience needed for them to improve business in their respective companies.

"This initiative was designed to provide our supported SMEs with invaluable, real-world insights into how other companies are successfully promoting circularity within their operations. We envision this knowledge exchange fostering potential partnerships that will propel collaborative efforts towards a more circular future,” she said.

"This exposure visit serves a dual purpose. Not only does it equip SMEs with best practices garnered from established circular food system companies, but also it creates opportunities for forging partnerships that will benefit both participating businesses and the advancement of circularity within the sector," she added.

Prior to the exposure visit, participating SMEs received Technical Assistance (TA) focused on integrating circularity principles into their operations.

This valuable training equipped them with the skills necessary to produce high-quality, standardized products while embracing circular food system practices.

Participants speak out

The exposure visit concluded with participating SMEs expressing their gratitude to CPCIC , CIRF project  partners, and hosting Companies  including Mukunguri Rice and Investment Company, BIDEC Ltd,  RAB, Golden Insect Ltd and Gorilla Feeds.

They acknowledged the immense value gained through insights into circular business models, technology, and market access strategies. Furthermore, they enthusiastically expressed their readiness to forge partnerships with the visited companies, fostering a collaborative environment that propels the advancement of circularity within Rwanda's agri-food sector.

Henriette Uwineza, Managing Director of Next Farm, a pig farming company in Rulindo district, expressed her appreciation for the program.

"The exposure visit was truly an eye-opening experience. Witnessing firsthand the production of animal feed and vermicomposting, particularly utilizing locally manufactured machines, was incredibly inspiring. This knowledge will undoubtedly empower us to enhance our own operations and explore the exciting possibilities of incorporating these practices into briquette and mushroom production."

CIRF is a three-year project spearheaded by the World Research Institute (WRI) with support from the IKEA Foundation. It fosters a systemic shift towards a circular economy within Rwanda's agri-food sector. The project operates through two primary channels: the Policy work stream and the SMEs work stream.

CPCIC, alongside other esteemed partners including the Government of Rwanda, Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE), RESONANCE, African Circular Economy Network (ACEN), and African Circular Economy Alliance (ACEA), actively contributes to the SMEs work stream.