Over the past few years, Ally Ngabonzima, an agricultural engineer based in Kigabiro Sector of Rwamagana District, has been using his family’s backyard to produce apple seedlings. Initially started as a way to put into practice what he learned at university and pursue his passion in his free time, Ngabonzima has now proved apple production as a viable business in Rwanda.
“I started this as my own experiment, but when I got the first few seedlings, I started getting offers of big amounts of money to sell these trees and that is when I decided to make this my full time business.” he explains.
Ngabonzima says he's now equipped with capacity to produce 5285 apple seedlings per year. His apple tree can produce 250 fruits per season. He sells one apple seedling at Frw 5000. He says he’s been successful in this venture due to continuous research he’s been conducting to ensure that he produces apple varieties that are adapted to local climatic conditions. The varieties take a shorter time to blossom, usually two years.
Last Friday on June 19, 2020, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Prof. Jean-Chrysostome Ngabitsinze, visited this agripreneur and commended what he’s been doing.
“Today I paid a visit to engineer Ngabonzima, he has extensive knowledge in apple production, it is our duty to collaborate with him to promote the cultivation of apples and reduce imports,” the Minister of State wrote on his twitter account just after the visit.
Apples are one of the most valuable fruit crops in Rwanda, and most of these fruits consumed in the country are imported because apple farming is still very new in the country.
The 4th Strategic Plan for the Transformation of Agriculture (PSTA4) [2018-2024] prioritizes horticulture in a bid to serve growing global, regional, and local markets as well as close dietary gaps. And production of exotic fruits including apples will be promoted during the PSTA4 time.