Moulin du Nil Blanc Ltd' (MNB) from Rwanda is the first project financed by the OVO Acceleration Fund. MNB receives a loan of 12,000 euros. "It is a very important step for the OVO Acceleration Fund," says general manager Björn Macauter, who points out that several African starters will be eligible for funding.
MNB was founded by Zilipa Nyirabyago. MNB grows and sells mushroom seed and substrate to local coffee growers so that they can count on a year-round income and thus create financial independence. Zilipa Nyirabyago has lived in Belgium since 2002. She has worked in Rwanda and Ivory Coast for multinationals (Coca Cola and Heineken) and has a lot of technical and policy experience. In 2018, MNB won the Sustainable Technology for Africa Award in Belgium.
The business project
Coffee is an important agricultural product that is grown by local farmers on small areas. There is only one harvest per year (from March to the end of April), so growers are highly dependent on both yield and coffee prices. In order to make ends meet financially for a full year, they must be able to generate an additional income. This can be done by growing and selling mushrooms, the growth of which is not dependent on climatic conditions.
The business model is based on three pillars:
- The production of quality mushroom seed
- The coffee growers receive financial assistance from a local savings bank (IFEZE), which grants them microcredits for the purchase of the mushroom seed and the substrate of coffee pulp and other natural waste from corn or other vegetables.
- The establishment of a local cooperative enterprise, in which MNB becomes a shareholder together with local agents and local farmers. This company acts as a focal point for the training of the farmers and for the sale of the production at a fair price.
MNB wants to involve 400 to 500 farmers in this project within 3 years and offer them the opportunity to earn enough income to support their families and raise their children. At a later stage, these farmers will also have the opportunity to sell harvests with greater added value.
Why OVO believes in this project
Only a small investment is needed for the farmers to grow mushrooms. For the purchase of seed and substrate, they can rely on micro-financing. The growers are also assisted in selling the harvest so that they get a fair price. Mushrooms are also very nutritious. MNB provides more and above all stable income for the local agricultural community.
To make it possible to start up the business, Zilipa Nyirabyago will contribute 5,000 euros itself. She is asking for a loan of 30,000 euros, of which 18,000 euros has already been pledged by three OVO consultants. OVO Acceleration has now provided financing for the remaining 12,000 euros for NMB.
MNB is a strong project with a sustainable basis that provides a stable additional income for the local agricultural communities.
You can donate online via the OVO Acceleration Fund
(with tax certificate from 40 euro).