In a bid to improve the competitiveness and productivity in wood processing value chain, the National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA) on Thursday launched an Open Calls Programme for firms to compete for support to improve competitiveness.
The support ranges from acquiring and adapting upgraded equipment, cost-free technical and business advice to support the growth for owners to improve production process and management.
Besides, NIRDA will train selected firms on the best technology, quality production processes, and business and marketing strategies, according to the statement from NIRDA.
The move to support the wood processing value chain is in line with promoting Made in Rwanda Programme to improve the competitiveness and productivity of locally made products for local market and export.
“Open Calls program for food processing value chain aims at bringing your business to the next level by supporting you to address your technological and technical barriers to your growth and competitiveness,” Kampeta Sayinzoga, NIRDA Director General, said in a statement.
She noted that the Open Calls program support for selected enterprises and industries such as acquisition and adaptation of specific technologies needed to improve their competitiveness in the form of equipment, software, or related investments.
Selected firms will be supported to acquire to purchase, adapt and make better use of technology such as equipment, tools, machines, software as a repayable facility at 0% interest rate, no fees, no collateral, according to Kampeta.
Supporting firms dealing with this value chain is essential given that Wood processing is one of the drivers to boost made in Rwanda programme and contribute to the export growth by 17 per cent annually as outlined in the Seven Year Government Programme (7YGP).
Wood and paper products, as well as furniture, are some of the greatest contributors to the Manufacturing sector in Rwanda. According to the National Institute for Statistics (NISR), Wood and paper printing contributed 4% of the total manufacturing sector in 2018 while Furniture contributed 6 per cent.
The technology audit survey carried out by NIRDA earlier this year revealed 54 per cent of wood processing equipment were semi-automated at 54 per cent while 45% were manually operated with only 1 per cent being fully automated.
Rwanda has reached 30 percent forest coverage through afforestation and reforestation, a target that was set to be achieved in 2020, according to the ministry of environment
The goal was a key objective of the Vision 2020.
This explains the potential for the country to have raw materials produce a big number of locally made products while other row materials can be outsourced.
Also, the 7-year Government Program (2017-2024) aims to establish Rwanda as a globally competitive knowledge-based economy, which will, in turn, create 214,000 decent and productive jobs annually.
Rwanda’s Vision 2050, Pillar 3 which is “The Economic Transformation Pillar” aims to accelerate private-sector-led economic growth and increased productivity.
Eligible firms are established ones that have been in business for four years.