An estimated 150 million people across Africa faced catastrophic levels of food insecurity in 2023. The latest data shows that 47.4 million people in Central and Southern Africa, 56.9 million in East Africa, and 41.5 million in West and Sahel Africa experienced food crisis and starvation in 2023.

At the same time, sub-Saharan Africa loses a significant amount of food, with grains alone accounting for $4 billion a year — more than the value of total food aid received in sub-Saharan Africa over the past decade, and equivalent to the annual value of cereal imports.

Reducing food loss and waste is essential to achieve a sustainable food future in Africa and globally Africa will need to move towards circularity and zero-waste principles in all areas of the food value chain, from production to consumption.

The Circular Food Systems for Rwanda project, funded by the IKEA Foundation, seeks to create a circular economy for food and promote sustainable food systems in Rwanda, working to translate global ambitions of a circular economy on food systems into real outcomes. 

Rwanda has the unique opportunity to revolutionize its food systems through a circular economy, which aims to minimize waste through the efficient use, reuse and recycling of products. More than 70% of Rwanda's population is involved in agriculture, with six million residents being small scale producers. The sector accounts for 33% of the country’s GDP. At the same time, UNEP’s Food Waste Index 2021 report estimates that Rwanda wastes a staggering 164kg of food every year. A transition to a circular economy could dramatically improve the economic, social and environmental impacts of the food system.

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of Rwanda’s economy, providing 41% of private sector jobs. The Rwandan Ministry of Trade & Industry reports that 98% of businesses in the country are small and medium enterprises. They are thus uniquely positioned to capture a meaningful market share in newly emerging circular food systems.

Despite this, SME’s lack sufficient resources and capacity.

The Circular Food Systems for Rwanda Project, through its SME Fund, provides SMEs with access to education, technical assistance and networking opportunities to help them build and sustain successful circular business models. In June 2023, the application process for the first cohort of the SME Fund opened. Seventy-five applicants from across Rwanda applied and seven were chosen to receive technical assistance provided through the SME Fund. Selected SMEs will be paired with technical assistance providers in their sector to receive the support they need to grow their businesses and explore circular economy opportunities in their country.

Meet the seven chosen SMEs: from sustainable agriculture to innovative technology, these entrepreneurs are making an impact and driving positive change.

Africa Foods Supply LTD

Women working in a field for Africa Foods Supply
Bonaventure Nsabimana

Location: Kamonyi District, Southern Province

Contact: Serge Ganza |

Africa Food Supply (AFS) was established in 2016 to provide locally grown and sourced, high quality, nutritional, fresh vegetables, fruits and grains. They are currently growing tomatoes, sweet potatoes, zucchini, pineapples and cucumbers. Africa Foods Supply LTD applies a farm-to-table concept whereby they grow crops for their restaurant and provide surplus for other markets. The company currently caters for local markets in Kamonyi and Kigali, Rwanda, with plans to expand nationwide. While much of their production comes from their own fields at present, Africa Foods Supply LTD began by working with farmer cooperatives in the area. These farmers have now been integrated into the production and sales system AFS established. The company is currently expanding the business into a bakery, coffee shop and a small processing facility.

Glory Mixed Farm

Woman in a chicken coup
Bonaventure Nsabimana

Location: Nyagatare District, Eastern Province

Contact: Mukagacinya Agathe |

Glory Mixed Farm is a privately owned business. The Farm opened in 2008 and practices a range of agropastoral faming activities, producing and selling animal and crop products such as pigs, chicken, eggs, maize, tomato, rice and banana. The company also produces and sells manure to local farmers.  The company has its corporate office in Kigali, Rwanda with farmland in Nyagatare District, Eastern province of Rwanda.

Golden Insect LTD

A man stands in front of a fertilizer pile
Bonaventure Nsabimana

Location: Musanze District, Southern Province

Contact: Dominique Xavio Imbabazi |

Golden Insect LTD is a company that specializes in commercial breeding of insects and insect-related macro and microorganisms for feed, food and organic fertilizer. They breed black soldier flies, giant African land snails and earthworms (red worms), with a central focus on minimizing food loss and waste through red worms that covert bio-waste into high-quality organic fertilizers in solid (vermicompost) and liquid form (vermiliquid). So far, they have been able to transform 10 tons of food waste every month.

Kigasali Coffee Company LTD

A man sorts coffee beans
Bonaventure Nsabimana

Location: Gasabo District, Kigali City

Contact: Niyoneza Didier |

Kigasali Coffee Company has been engaged in coffee processing since 2016. It exports its products, as well as sells them in the Rwandan market. Kigasali employs 5,108 farmers and hires only women for selection of coffee before processing. Recently, the company has started using fresh coffee waste to produce organic fertilizers.


Women tending to mushrooms
Bonaventure Nsabimana

Location: Rubavu District, Western Province

Contact: Zilipa Nyirabyago |

MNB Ltd was established in 2012 with a vision to fight against hunger and malnutrition, while creating sustainable jobs in both rural and urban areas in Rwanda. MNB recycles agricultural waste, such as soya residues and dried coffee pulp, to produce various eco-responsible circular food products. MNB uses a zero-waste mushrooms value chain that aims to minimize waste production as much as possible by composting, reusing or recycling any waste generated. Through this process, the company produces organic compost and sells it to local farmers. MNB Ltd would like to promote a similar business model of circularity to low-income farmers, especially women and youth with small land, to enable them to grow into sustainable agro-entrepreneurs.

Next Farm LTD

A man smiles amongst a lush crop
Bonaventure Nsabimana

Location: Rulindo District, Northern Province

Contact: Uwineza Henriette |

Next Farm was created with a mission to promote the efficient and effective use of agriculture subproducts and waste by reusing and recycling them. By doing so, the company strives to improve the livelihood of nearby communities through sustainable food supply. Next farm specializes in pig farming, producing sausages and selling pork to local customers. They also engage in growing crops, such as banana, Irish potatoes and maize — mainly as feed for their pigs — and produce and sell compost they make using animal manure.

Tech Adopter

A man standing next to a machine
Bonaventure Nsabimana

Location: Kicukiro District, Kigali

Contact: Israel Niyonshuti |

Tech Adopter is an Agri-Tech engineering company with a mission to empower Rwandan farmers with innovative agricultural solutions that increase productivity, reduce costs, minimize waste and improve livelihoods. The company manufactures affordable and customized agricultural equipment for harvesting and processing crops.

African Circular Economy Alliance logo.
African Circular Economy Network logo.
Cleaner Production and Climate Innovation Centre logo.
IKEA Foundation logo.
PACE logo.
Resonance logo.