Scaling a chili export business, despite pandemic shocks

Twahirwa Dieudonné in his farm

If you want to hear a story out of a crisis, you have to talk to people like Dieudonné. Like many, his Gashora chilli export farm, founded in 2013, never anticipated the impact of the pandemic. He never imagined having to keep business going while the world shut down.

As restrictions tightened, Twahirwa and his team had to quickly rethink their strategy. Fortunately, his good relationship with one of his financers, the Development Bank of Rwanda, connected him to AMI’s Grow Your Agribusiness Programme, which is aimed at equipping Agri-business owners like him across Africa with skills and tools to overcome shocks and setbacks resulting from economic crisis.

After some time on the programme, Twahirwa started thinking more broadly. He got the skills and tools to diversify his pool of suppliers. He applied AMI’s cash flow management tool along with lessons on strategic management to rethink how he was running the business.

Scaling a chilli export business, despite pandemic shocks Ultimately, he decided to reduce the size of his farm in order to reduce his expenses and began outsourcing through other local farmers. Gashora Farm has since increased the number of partner smallholder farmers far beyond Rwanda and DRC borders. He now works in partnership with smallholder farmers in Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and Malawi.

“As a result of this program, we have managed to increase the number of smallholder farmers that we work with to around 10,000.”

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