How passion for sugar cane turned into liquor enterprise

Monday March 9 2020

sugar cane

Ms Mukandayisenga, 28, has a plant which transforms sugar cane into juices, wines and whiskey operating in Kamonyi District in Southern Province. PHOTO | SEARCH 

MARIE ANNE DUSHIMIMANA
By MARIE ANNE DUSHIMIMANA
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Clementine Mukandayisenga had a passion for making money from sugar cane when she was still at school. She used to peel, cut them into small pieces, package them into plastic bags and sell them to people around her home, during holidays.

Ms Mukandayisenga, 28, has a plant which transforms sugar cane into juices, wines and whiskey operating in Kamonyi District in Southern Province.

However, her dream of processing sugar cane stayed alive even after university.

She started saving whatever money she could. In 2015, she approached her uncle who lived abroad and worked in a brewery and asked him for help both with money and ideas.

In 2017, she received a loan from him of Rfw1.5 million which she used to buy a machine to extract juice from sugar cane, she told Rwanda Today.

At the beginning, she worked from home, using buckets and sold cane juice. A few days later, she attended the Trade Fair Exhibition at Gikondo Expo Ground and made Rfw4.5 million over two weeks, which she used to set up a mini plant.

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After researching online and asking around for help, she decided to try wine and liquor, from sugar cane, she said.

It requires juice and yeast to make wines. When she started, she could make 50 litres of wine fermented within six months. Today, she brews 5,000 litres of wine a month and has 23 permanent employees.

However, the business would flourish if she finds capital to invest in sugar cane farming to avoid running short of stock. Besides, packaging is still a big challenge to agri-processers.

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