Moving Kivuguto (fermented milk) in volumes everyday
Said Havugimana has been working as a milk trader for the last 15 years. His company Haji Enterprises handles the milk value chain, from the cow to the factory to the final end product, which is fermented milk or kivuguto as popularly known in Kinyarwanda.
In a day, Haji Enterprises handles 2000 litres of milk, which he sources from 10 milk collection centres from cooperatives to his processing plant in Nyanza – Southern Province, Rwanda.
Once the milk arrives, it is first boiled then cooled. Culture is then used to ferment it then the milk is packed in 5 litre jerricans and stored in the cold rooms ready for distribution to the shops. Haji notes that there is no business that is without challenges.
“At times it is difficult to transport all the milk from the collection centres because we lack the capacity in terms of milk trucks. Currently we transport the milk in cans using the tuk tuks.” He adds that he is also facing competition from other traders, lack of proper roads, electricity, coolers and constant water supply in the factory.
Customers are also demanding that he expands to other areas/towns so as to meet the growing demand. Lack of investment capital to upgrade the processing plant and expand the business has also been a challenge.
He has been a member of AAA since 2014 and notes that he has benefitted from exposure he got from the Dairy Week conference and Dairy CoP meeting that was held last year in August 2014 in Kampala. He would like to visit and learn from other AAA members in dairy.
Said says he has benefitted a lot from the interactions in the business club meetings. “The free exchange of ideas and consultation I get from the members has been beneficial to me. I have gotten ideas on how I can increase my product line.”
From the business plan training, Said notes that he has improved his writing skills on business plan writing. Through the skills acquired, he hopes to write bankable business plans that can get him possible funding to expand his business.
Apart from selling the milk, Said also runs two restaurants. He has given public service vehicles that ferry passengers to Congo a bus park section therefore most of his milk and food customers are the passengers on transit to Congo. He has 2 shops, which serve as outlets for the milk. Said also keeps 10 cows to supplement his milk production.
He is also doing business with Immaculee Kayitesi of Zirakamwa Meza Dairy where he buys yoghurt for sale at his shops. Said is optimistic that in the future AAA shall have a central point in Kigali where all its members can stock their products for ease of distribution to the market.