Rwanda will continue to trial avocado exports by sea in reefer containers fitted with controlled atmosphere (CA) technology after a successful pilot shipment late last year.
Coordinated between the Rwandan government and partners including IDH, Flying Swans and avocado exporters, the pilot saw 23 tonnes of Hass avocados shipped to Dubai, UAE for supermarket chain Carrefour.
“Our involvement in the reefer container, or shipping by sea route, aims to expand our business and move from export for survival to export for prosperity,” said Robert Rukundo, Chairman of the Horticulture Exporters Association of Rwanda.
Until now, avocado exports from the East African nation have only been by air. Factoring in all costs, the first sea shipment was reported to be 25.5 percent cheaper than airfreight, with the use of CA reefer containers preserving produce quality during the longer sea transit of 22 days.
The pilot shipment was part of the 4-year “Investing in Horticultural Development in Rwanda” project (HortInvest), funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Rwanda.
While the first containerload was shipped through Rwanda’s National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB), the second shipment, expected around October, will be carried out by private companies.
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