Local producers will have to first get international certification if they are to fully benefit from the hospitality industry boom, as hotels continue to import goods they could have obtained locally due standard requirements.
Although the rate at which local hotels, including global brands like Marriot and Radisson Blu buy locally- produced foods like vegetables, fruits, eggs, chicken has improved, some goods are still sourced externally.
“We saw hotels were importing meat and other agricultural products so we signed an MOU with them.
They then started buying from us, but some goods are still sourced outside the country because we haven’t obtained several international certificates,” said Murebwayire Christine, chairperson of the chamber of agriculture and animal husbandry at the Private Sector Federation and a local agriculturist.
“Not having some certificates, like global GAP, organic certification still limits us from supplying meat and horticulture products to some hotels,”she said.
Recently, local producers and suppliers of foods and other items used in hotels, restaurants and supermarkets have been challenged to expand their supply capacities to keep up with the needs of the industry, or else they will miss out on the business opportunities the industry presents.
The past few years have seen a rapid growth in the hospitality industry especially after the government added value to its tourism potentials, through among other things bolstering of MICE tourism, which opened up the market to fivestar hotels, restaurants and other amenities.
Up to 70 per cent of the meat products used in Radisson Blu are sourced locally, according to a source. Meat products like chicken, goat meat, beef, lamb, pork and sausages are supplied locally and the rest like fish and other seafood are imported from Uganda and South Africa.
A source this paper talked to from Marriot said the hotel buys all its fruits, vegetables and most of its foods locally, but imports liquors and wines — the only wine product sourced locally is a Thousand Hills wine and Sambaza.
Although local production has improved, a big chunk of some agricultural goods are still imported.
Data obtained from the government shows that Rwf2.4billion in 2017 was spent on importing oranges, fresh and dried grapes and fresh apples.
In a season without events, Radisson Blu spends between Rwf25 million and Rwf 30 million on meat products, and between Rwf15million to Rwf 18 million on fruits and vegetables.
In a previous interview, managing director of KIME Ltd — a leading supplier of meat products to hotels and restaurants — Mugambira Jean Baptiste said it has been a challenge for them to keep up with the quality standards and quantities demanded by the hotels, largely because the hospitality industry grew significantly faster than the supply market.