Lack of market knowledge hampering exporting SMEs

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m_Lack of market knowledge hampering exporting SMEs

The country’s exporting Small and Medium Enterprises-SMEs are said to be lacking knowledge of the available regional markets, thus pushing down their competitive advantage over their peers in the bloc.

This comes after efforts to boost quality of the products yielded a positive outlook but questions still linger as to why the products cannot penetrate markets mainly in the region.

The government   stepped up effort to boost its export earnings that are needed to balance the   huge trade deficit the country is currently facing to be able to leapfrog into middle income economy.

“Most of local businesses lack knowledge about potential markets. Others cannot understand the legal regime on the countries where they are exporting from,” said Gerald Mukubu, acting chief executive officer, Private Sector Federation-PSF.

This  makes  businesses  fail to produce  according to the demand  patterns of the  market or  products  not desired by the  said market   thus  losing  in terms of value and volumes which affects their  survival  in the market.

“The challenge is to   have our exporters produce for what is needed for the market. We have exporters producing more than what the market they are targeting can take up,” Janet Nkubana, at Rwanda exporters Forum earlier said.

Experts say that the need for knowledge about the markets is vital at it helps local businesses prepare and produce according to the needs of the targeted market, a move that would see the development of the country’s brand products.

But Private sector Federation-PSF, the private sector’s umbrella organization through its partners is looking at developing a guide that will help exporters to access information that would be vital for the targeted markets.

“We are hopeful that the Exporters Handbook will   be a resource and guideline for local exporters on issues concerning markets,” Mukubu said.

The handbook expected to be launched in October is to highlight key market destinations for most of Rwanda products such as Uganda, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, DR Congo, and Tanzania. Others include US, the European Union.

The handbook   will also provide products certification requirements, market regimes, prices, the products needed in the markets as well as packaging   requirements which have been hampering most of Rwanda made products.

Moreover, experts believe that the handbook will also provide an orientation on basis of how to start exporting, vital contacts, feasibility studies and the   consumption patterns of the markets mainly on agricultural [products   such as coffee.

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About the author

Olive Ndaka is the Junior Editor for RwandaEye. An investor and young entrepreneur, she is a quick learner and has contributed many articles for RwandaEye in Kinyarwanda.

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