Interview: Florence from the Kigali Farmer’s and Artisan’s Market
Florence Mwashimba is responsible for the awesome Kigali Farmer’s and Artisan’s Market. Read more about her and the market below and also be sure to check out their website and Facebook page for more info.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m Flo Mwashimba with over 15 years experience in sales and marketing with focus on food and beverages. I’ve been in Rwanda for almost four years now and I’ve been working in various capacities with different farmers and artisans helping them to get their product to market.
What is the Kigali Farmer’s and Artisan’s Market?
It’s currently a monthly market that brings together local farmers and producers that are mainly startups, home industries and SMEs with the goal of maximising their reach to the masses. We also give back to the community by charging a gate fee where all proceeds go to different charities each month.
Where did the idea for the market come from?
Having worked with several producers, I could see how many struggled to get their products/services to market especially when they were starting up. There were also those who unfortunately got used by middle men for their own profit while the producers got very poor returns on their products. The market seemed like a wonderful solution to their problems while at the same time engaging the community.
What types of products are people likely to find at the markets?
All the products are made or grown in Rwanda. You’ll find fresh fruits, vegetables and meats, artisanal products like jams, peanut butter, breads, cheese etc. and works from various artisans like clothes, shoes, kids items/toys, woven, wood or even metal artwork among others.
What sort of vendors do you look for?
I look and favor for vendors that are doing unique, quality products/produce with focus on Made in Rwanda. They would also be willing to think outside the box in regards to the various ways they can showcase and expand their products.
Where is the market located and how often are they on?
At the moment, we do the market every first Sat of the month and we move from one location to another with the aim of engaging the community more. Check our Facebook page for more information on where the next markets will be.
What is your favourite part about running the Kigali Farmer’s and Artisan’s Market?
Getting to engage and be part of building a community which is proud of what they produce whilst supporting the growth of businesses and families. I also get to have the opportunity in many cases to have the market as the first platform where products are showcased. That gives the market a head start and great positioning as a fore-runner in supporting new ideas.
What has the reception been like in the Kigali community?
Initially there was a lot of doubt from various people in regards to the reception of the market. As it has grown and people have seen what the market is giving back, it has been very positive with various vendors relying on the existence of the market to be able to advertise their work
What plans do you have for the future of the market?
We are currently in talks with various people to have a more permanent location for the market. We have also started business tours that take the consumers to various vendors and businesses around Kigali in order to further create exposure for them.