By Julius Nkunda and Alex Gahima.
The director of Nyarenga Bakery, Augustin Nyarenga says, after nearly forty years of producing the best Mandazi (pastry) in the district, his company is prepared to transition from using Firewood to electricity.
Mr. Nyarenga says he will need Government support to make such changes to his family run business.
The Kigezi Industrial Summit, presents an excellent opportunity for Small and Medium Enterprise owners like Mr. Nyarenga.
The Summit, which will officially be launched on the 24th of September 2022, under the theme, Mobilization of Domestic Investment for prosperity and regional integration, aims at promoting and attracting relevant investment projects.
Nyarenga, a man of humble beginnings says, his success in the pastry business stems from something, he himself cannot begin to explain.
“I think my passion for making Mandazi is a God given gift. Even now as a successful business owner and farmer, nothing can extinguish my love for making pastries”, Nyarenga explains.
Back in 1973, as a twenty something, Nyarenga says, with only 500 Ugandan shillings, he began buying local flour from neighboring villages.
He says he would make Mandazi and ‘Sumbusa’ which he would sell on foot.
Forty years down the road, Nyarenga owns a factory along Rusiza- Mgahinga road at Nturo which operates seven days a week and an outlet in New Park, Kisoro Municipality.
“Our flagship product, the Nyarenga Mandazi is well loved among the people of Kisoro. We strive to maintain a certain standard with all our products”, Nyarenga explained.
Nyarenga Mandazi is a household name in Kisoro, loved by young and old.
A Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) seal appears boldly on every packaging material.
Nyarenga says he strives to meet all Government requirements because it costs you more in the long run, if you are on the wrong side of the law.
Though his products can only be found in Kisoro district, Nyarenga says, if given an opportunity to have a space at the industrial park, he can be able to push his products further.
The cost of doing business is still very high in two major areas, according to Nyarenga.
He admits that a lot of his money is spent on transport and procurement of high-quality flour in Kampala.
“We simply don’t have enough farmers growing wheat in Kisoro. Also with fuel prices soaring, the cost of doing business has more than doubled”, Nyarenga explains.
The factory uses 1,200Kgs of flour every day to make Mandazi and bread.
Nyarenga says his greatest challenge now, is how to transition from using firewood to electricity.
He says he spends a lot of money buying firewood and is often forced to cut from his own shamba.
According to Nyarenga, the industrial park will be able to provide the necessary environment including reliable electricity, transportation, storage and markets to ensure his business thrives.
Mr. Nyarenga says, he has not yet received an official invitation to attend the summit tomorrow, however he is confident that local investors like himself, will be given an opportunity.
Jackson Mudureva, the productions Manager at the factory says, he has worked with Mr. Nyarenga for the last 23 years and he has been treated like a son.
Mudureva says the industrial park is very important to the people of Kisoro and Kigezi at large because it will open up new markets and create new employment opportunities for many young people.