Leon Nduwayezu is an ambitious innovator who aims to resolve Rwanda’s agricultural packaging problems. Currently, many small holder farmers in Rwanda struggle to deliver safely and securely their fresh produce across the country. With a background in strategic planning and marketing, Leon Nduwayezu has decided to end the packaging problem in Rwandan agro-industry sector by starting AgroPlast Ltd, a company that has been manufacturing net bags since 2015. These bags are used to transport and export mainly potatoes, but also fruits and vegetables are targeted.
The newly created business, which is playing a leading role in the manufacturing and distribution of net bags, aims to reform the potato value chain by developing a new packaging system. With more than 700,000 Euros invested so far and 120 jobs created, Leon has a two phase business plan. The first phase is targeting the local market to increase farmers’ awareness of the new product and how packaging can help them in their distribution. Here Leon has been test-driving any initial problems that have come up while he has also been measuring farmers’ responses to the product. Leon’s main target are commercial business rather than consumers, but he recognises that building up this client base is a slow process as this group is not used to being targeted. However, Leon recognises that his clients’ success means his success, so he is willing to accommodate and be flexible to their needs. ‘It could take a while to get local farmers to move into a higher production phase, so explaining the idea behind the product will be really important,’ Leon explains.
The second business phase sees Leon moving into the regional East African community where he can target bigger supply chains. Leon will need to scale up to match these new demands, but at this stage he can offer improved products which have been test run on the ground already. The support he receives from SPARK has been in the marketing and networking aspects while his new product on the Rwandan market has a particularly unique feature of being environment friendly. By owning his own business, Leon is mostly delighted ‘to do what he likes most,’ that is to innovate and challenge the local market to come up with better solutions.
What is your personal ambition?
I have an ambition to be recognized as a business man with an innovative idea and to have a positive impact on the farming communities in Rwanda.
What impact do you see your business making?
I aim to end the packaging problem in the Rwandan agro-industry sector which is currently limited and therefore is stifling growth of mass distribution for many farmers who want to scale up their production.
How do you see the future of your business?
I see a very big potential for growth for AgroPlast Ltd because it is a new idea which is not being done anywhere else in Rwanda and many businesses have problems with packaging for distribution.