Rwanda, DR Congo farmers agree deal to ease trade

Rwandan agri-business traders can now penetrate the DR Congo market following the signing of bilateral trading agreement between Private Sector Federation (chamber of farmers) and Congolese Farmers-Concessioners Association for Development.

The deal, which is aimed at formalising cross-border trade between two countries, was signed, yesterday, in Goma city in eastern DR Congo, on the second day of a three-day agri-business trade mission organised by PSF.

According to the agreement, the two parties will cooperate in promoting cross-border trade by identifying and sharing market opportunities for agricultural products.

It was also agreed that the two parties share expertise among the trade leadership as well as enable joint investment to enhance trade.

“It’s a great opportunity for us as Rwandan farmers,” Christine Murebwayire, the president of chamber of farmers at PSF, said after the signing of the agreement.

“DR Congo has a potential market for our products and we hope this agreement will ease doing business between our traders.”

She said the deal will help them get data on cross-border business as well as identify the challenges affecting traders so as to ease efforts to seek permanent solutions.

DR Congo is among Rwanda’s top export destinations. A recent study by Ministry of Trade and Industry on informal cross-border trade estimated that total informal exports and imports were about $47 million and $21 million, respectively.

Informal exports with the region was at 26 per cent, with two-thirds of the trade being with DR Congo.

During the visit, a mini-expo was also organised, where Rwandan traders showcased locally made products as a away to market Rwandan products.

Pierre Damien Bivegete, the president of the Congolese Farmers-Concessioners Association for Development, said there was a lot to learn from their Rwandan counterparts.

He added that the agreement presents opportunities for Congolese traders, especially in quality production.
“We have a lot to learn from Rwanda; we have resources and we need to take advantage of this agreement in order to benefit our traders. We have been dealing in informal trade and it was a challenge but now we have formalised it,” he said

Bivegete said they were eager and interested in knowing what Rwanda produces, adding that under the deak, they will be able to visit Rwanda and share experiences.

Among the people who visited the mini-expo were Congolese minister for agriculture Eugene Serufuli, and a Member of Parliament from the area.

Jean Claude Shirimpumu, a Rwandan piggery farmer, has already struck a deal with a Congolese trader.
“I’m going to sign a deal with a Congolese trader who will buy pigs from my farm. We have agreed everything, all I need is to go back to Kigali and finalise it,” he said.

He said the Congolese trader owns various hotels in DR Congo where he needs to serve pork.

By editorial@newtimes.co.rw