Muhanga Food Processing Industries (MFPI), an agro processing industry was incorporated in 2014 by a group of women from COCOF, a local Non-Governmental Organization created mainly to promote the socio, economic and political development of women.
COCOF was dealing in Soya bean to improve the nutritional benefits of the crop, to enhance the value chains of the Soya bean a company was established that would handle production separate from the NGO.
Desire Nzayisenga, the Managing Director of Muhanga Food Processing Industries Ltd says the company located in Ruli,Shyogwe Sector of Muhanga District was a result of wanting to improve production and separate the business from the NGO.
To bring innovation in nutrition and improve Soya bean value chains, the company sought investors who bought minority shares while COCOF remained as the majority shareholder with 54 percent shareholding.
The new shareholders injected cash capital when the company was formed while COCOF provided an infrastructure including building and machines needed to start running the company.
The company has embarked on innovation by creating five different products from Soya bean, they include; Tofu (Soya meat), Tungumubiri Composite flour, Soya Tea, Soya Milk and Soya flour.
The products are distributed across the country with the exception of Soya milk which only supplied locally. The company’s priority is to supply its products to Muhanga District before they distribute to the rest of the country.
MFPI has raised production capacity with the ability for daily output 300 – 400 Kgs of Tofu, 2 tonnes of Composite flour, 1 tonne each for Soya Tea, Soya milk and Soya flour. Annual capacity output currently stands at 200 tonnes of flour and 35 tonnes of Tofu with targets to raise production in the near future.
The head of the company says they started with a purpose of processing foods that are nutritious as a way to fight malnutrition in the country because soya is a crop with many benefits.
“Muhanga Food Processing Industry emphasizes the need to monitor the attitudes and values of consumers in order to improve quality,” Nzayisenga observes.
The Challenge of supplying healthy diets to the Rwandan population will be met through increase in food production.
MFPI puts more value to soya because its a good product, farming it would be profitable since buyers are there and the consumers in demand of it.
Healthy diets like those from MFPI which meet consumer expectations produced from resilient and sustainable agri-food systems are delivered in a changing world with diminishing natural resources to increase food and nutrition security in Rwanda.
Reducing food losses throughout the supply chain from production to consumption and sustainable enhancement in preservation, nutrient content, safety and shelf life of foods, enabled by food processing is essential which is very important for Muhanga Food Processing Industry.
Since its establishment the company has experienced a gradual progress as it moves from a Small Medium Enterprise (SME) level and targets to become a fully fledged manufacturing industrial.
The progress for the company is also benefiting its shareholders unlike before because they are now able to get dividends with expected revenues.
The role of Muhanga Food Processing Industry in the development of the district is recognised by local officials as well as the good working relations with the district officials and other stakeholders like cooperatives.
However, the company still faces challenges like lack of raw materials, the effects of climate change or natural disasters that affect food supply, taxes and sometimes delay in getting standards certification of food products.
Nzayisenga calls upon all stakeholders to help in uplifting their standards as the best way that nutrition benefits can be realised.