Rwanda Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA) has conducted a technology audit report on wood processing value chain to establish currently available technology and technological capability.
The audit carried out on 127 firms between February and June this year also sought to assess the potential for upgrading, extending and optimizing wood processing to increase production for both local consumption and export.
Specifically, it looked at technology and production, market, policies and regulation and on human resources and skills development to show the technological gaps and how they can be bridged.
Besides the audit aimed at updating the database of firms involved in processing or value addition to wood products to establish the types and significance of products processed as well as the technology used.
Speaking at the launch of the audit early last week, Kampeta Sayinzoga, NIRDA Director General said tech audit is very important to assess technology used stressing that for factories to produce quality and cost competitive products, use of modern technologies is paramount.
“The audit on wood processing value chain aimed at assessing the potential for upgrading, extending and optimizing wood processing firms to increase production for both local consumption and export,” she said.
“NIRDA wants to support you in the advancement of technologies in wood processing value chain, if this wood sector grows more jobs will be created as well as Rwandan policy of improving made in Rwanda,” Kampeta told managers from firms.
She noted that NIRDA looks forward to maximally upgrade, extend and optimize Rwandan industry for more quality and quantity produces.
Following the validation of the technology audit, NIRDA will provide direct support to selected firms in the value chains through open calls programme.
Through the programme, the firms in the selected value chain will be invited by NIRDA to compete for technical and business advisory support and financial support to buy upgraded equipment with advanced technology, according to Kampeta.
NIRDA’s Open call program support for selected enterprises and industries such as acquisition and adaptation of specific technologies needed to improve their competitiveness in the form of equipment, software, or related investments.
According to the findings from the audit report, use of modern technology is still low as 54% of the wood processing equipment are largely semi-automated while 45% are manually operated with only 1% automated.
Wood and paper products, as well as furniture, are some of the greatest contributors to the Manufacturing sector in Rwanda.
According to the National Institute for Statistics in Rwanda, Wood and paper printing contributed 4% of the total manufacturing sector in 2018 while furniture contributed 6%.
Rwanda’s Vision 2050, Pillar 3 which is “The Economic Transformation Pillar” aims to accelerate private-sector-led economic growth and increased productivity.
Also the 7-year Government Program (2017-2024) aims to establish Rwanda as a globally competitive knowledge-based economy, which will, in turn, create 214,000 decent and productive jobs annually.