With a background in marketing management and a specialization in food market linkages, Pascal Murasira – a former SPARK employee in Rwanda- is an ambitious agribusiness investor and co-founder of Hollanda FairFoods Ltd. Pascal and his partner have recently opened a processing plant in the northern part of Rwanda where the company processes Irish potatoes for their new crisp brand WINNAZ Chips which was launched on the Rwandan Regional markets in May 2015.
The business started in August 2014 with the aim of taking advantage of the fast growing snack food market in Rwanda as well as the abundance of raw materials in the country. Pascal and his partner have invested a staggering 350,000 Euros so far and have created 44 jobs with a focus on alleviating youth unemployment in their local area. In 2015 Pascal had a production capacity of 25kg of crisps per hour which has grown by 100 kg in 2016.
Hollanda FairFoods Ltd is recognized for giving farmers the highest fixed price for their crops. Doing so allows farmers to better predict their income facilitating a more stable livelihood. It is also the only company in Africa that uses 100% compostable bags for potato crisps and the only company in East Africa that uses sunflower oil to make crisps, thus providing a healthier alternative to regional snack food consumers.
Before he started his business Pascal was employed in SPARK’s programme which supported farming cooperatives. According to Pascal, the Entrepreneurship Development Programme (MFSII) has helped Hollanda FairFoods in two ways ‘it gave me a wide understanding of business dynamics both in on-farm and off-farm enterprises as well as an exposure to several agribusiness management tools that I am currently using for my business,’ he said.
Pascal also attended the Business and Peace conference co-hosted by SPARK and the Hague Institute of Global Justice. ‘In this conference, I learned a lot about the contribution of businesses for sustainable peace in conflict sensitive regions of the world, including our own great lakes region’.
Pascal has conducted extensive research on assessing the relationship between farmers – suppliers and Hollanda Fairfoods ‘the results helped us to identify the farmers’ expectations of us and vice versa, hence helping us to come up with a strategy that ensures a smooth business relationship from which both sides win and which strengthens the companies sustained sourcing strategy,’ Pascal said.
What is your personal ambition?
I want to create as many socially oriented businesses as possible, and find the right people to work with who will manage them successfully.
What impact do you see your business making?
My business is providing jobs to dozens of young men and women who couldn’t be hired elsewhere because of lack of formal education, providing a stable and sustainable market for farmers who are usually at the mercy of speculators. It is proving to other young men and women that agriculture can become a successful business option not just a profession for uneducated peasants and those who have been unsuccessful elsewhere.
How do you see the future of your business?
I plan is to introduce new crisp flavors in the year of 2016. In addition, I want to introduce other 'healthy' snacks to increase our shelf visibility as well as a wide range of options for our customers in Rwanda and East and Central Africa.