Meet GoGettaz finalist Best Food Solution who took advantage of strained diplomatic relations to start his agribusiness

Did you know the amount of food lost annually in Africa due to post harvest loss is enough to feed the total number of undernourished people globally? This is according to the Rockefeller Foundation with estimates of about  30-40% of production being lost, an equivalent to US$940 billion. The global population is also expected to increase to nearly 10 billion people by 2050 necessitating increased production to feed the growing population and increased value addition of agricultural products to reduce food losses and food wastage.

For a long time, Burundi imported chili oil from Rwanda popularly known as “akabanga” however in 2020 saw governments announce restrictions on movement of some goods and people as a measure to curb the spread of Covid-19 virus which killed approximately 6.5 million people globally according to the World Health Organization; this halted the importation of “akabanga” into Burundi. Additionally, diplomatic relations between Rwanda and Burundi worsened due to prevalence of armed rebellion in the region, mutual mistrust and political suspicion interfered with trade relations between the two neighboring countries.  

Eloge Niyomwungere, founder and CEO of ‘Best Food Solution’, Burundi and 2022 Gogettaz finalist under the ‘Impact’ category took advantage of “akabanga” shortage in the market to introduce his locally made chilies products. The climate in Burundi is favorable as chilies grow well in hot weather with a lot of sunlight.

Inspired by Doctor Strive Massiyiwa’s quote“Agriculture is a trillion dollars opportunity”, while illustrating the daily revenue in fast food eateries and amount of money households’ spend on food made Niyomwungere to provide solutions in the food value chain while while increasing his cash flows.

Best Food Solution has partnered with rural smallholder farmers in Burundi by providing them with quality seeds and other farm inputs with guaranteed offset of their harvest at a contractual price. Once harvested, chillies are processed into oil, powder, dried chilies and packaged well in different quantities ready to be sold in the market.

“It takes us about 3 days to make 100 cartons of oil with our little machines and 5 days to make a 100kgs of chili powder depending on the climate conditions to facilitate the drying process,” says Niyomwungere.

Like most plants, chillies are prone to pests and diseases such as thrips, mites, aphids, and whiteflies. To solve this challenge, Best Solution developed its own affordable and organic chili-based pesticide as an alternative to chemical pesticides.

This partnership with farmers has led to increased income in their households due to availability of ready market and contributed greatly to a reduction in post-harvest losses.  Hoteliers too are happy as they can now access high quality and affordable chili-based products locally which helps to maintain their customer base.

Niyomwungere was recently awarded by Generation Africa in the 2022 GoGettaz competition that aims to appreciate youth who are transforming food systems in Africa for his role in transforming lives of rural smallholder farmers who mostly do not have the capacity to process their harvested chillies leading to post harvest losses as they are highly perishable. The recognition he says led to more sales of its products.  

His agripreneurship journey has not been easy having taken the risk to quit formal employment and convinced his former classmate Aubert Perez Nsabimana to join him despite little capital both had.

“Together we developed a vision board which turned into reality after more than a year after numerous market tests and feedbacks from potential clients with our first product ready for market in December 2021, our aim now is to to expand our market and increase scale of our production,” says Niyomwungere.

To upcomingagripreneurs who would like to apply for the upcoming 2023 GoGettaz competition Niyomwungere advises them to understand the solution they are providing in the food value chain and have passion in their agribusiness. He further adds, confidence is key while pitching your agribusiness to a panel of selected judges.

Stay Updated! Follow our page GoGettaz and see how young agripreneurs are transforming Africa’s food system.

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