South-South cooperation: Indian spice company grows new chilli varieties in Rwanda
Rwanda’s fertile soil and weather conditions are ideal for growing the most pungent chillies in the world. This is attractive to Indian companies seeking to diversify sourcing to satisfy the Indian market’s fast-growing demand. Akay Flavours & Aromatics is among such companies.
In July 2016, the company distributed premium quality chilli seeds to eight selected Rwandan spice cooperatives, which were seeking to expand their chilli production. This introduced six new chilli varieties in Rwanda.
Shibu Anandarajan, Vice President at Akay Flavours, says: ‘The performance of the crop is satisfactory. The availability of fertile land, water for irrigation and the young farming community are major strengths of our chilli cultivation project.’
With technical support from India and a buy-back guarantee arrangement with Akay Flavours, the trial plot produced the first batch of chillies in March 2017. The companies are considering expanding chilli production, and Akay plans to introduce more varieties. It is also considering setting up primary processing facilities in Rwanda.
Promoting South-South trade and investment through SITA
Akay Flavours linked up with Rwandan farmers through ‘Supporting Indian Trade and Investment for Africa’ (SITA), an ITC project funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID). SITA is fostering South-South businesses ties such as this one by promoting trade, investment and technology transfer among developing countries.
In recent years, countries such as India, China, Brazil and Turkey have emerged as important actors in South-South cooperation. They encompass fastgrowing markets for trade, are sources of new foreign investment, and often have unique expertise in appropriate technologies and know-how. They play an important role in strengthening the technological and productive capacity of other developing countries, as their technology is often more affordable or more suited to challenges faced in other developing countries.
However, many SMEs in developing and least developed countries are unable to benefit from South-South trade, investment and technology transfer. This is often due to lack of export market information, or the ability to identify the relevant business or knowledge partner. ITC can offer assistance by acting as a bridge builder between regional players.
In its first years of implementation, SITA’s results have been promising, with achievements in a number of sectors across the project’s five beneficiary countries – Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and the United Republic of Tanzania. Within the spices sector alone, three leading Indian spice exporters that participated in a business networking event indicated that about $3 million in business was discussed, and by December 2015, orders for more than $2.5 million had been placed.
Source: ITC SITA Programme