Pascal Murasira is co-founder of Minnaz Potato Chips, the first producer of potato chips in Rwanda. The company started in 2014 and now sells about 12,000 bags of potato chips every month.
The idea of making potato chips was new in Rwanda; no one had tried it before. The timing couldn’t be better because Rwanda’s economy is rising mainly due to more agriculture, including potatoes. But co-founder Murasira did his homework in order to make what might seem impossible become possible in a country like Rwanda.
Murasira began by doing lots of research on how to make potato chips. Since potatoes were in abundance, he thought about making a difference in Rwanda by using them to producing snacks. He also had to raise money — about $450,000 USD — in order to get his factory up and running. Some of the money came from local institutions, but he was also able to get financing from the Dutch government.
In addition, he has recently partnered with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to expand production. He has also been able to raise money from investors from the Netherlands.
Why his potato chips are different
Prior to making his own chips, Rwanda was importing most of their snacks from other African countries like Kenya, South Africa, and even countries in Europe. So, the first uniqueness about his chips is that their are locally produced. Even more, Murasira emphasizes that his chips are high quality kettle chips that are made from fresh ingredients with no chemical additives. Even the packaging material is biodegradable.
According to their web site, the chips have a rich flavor and delicious crispness, and are made from only the finest potatoes, 100% pure Ugandan sunflower oil, and iodized salt.
So, what’s next?
States Murasira, “We want to position ourselves as the most environment-friendly and most innovative potato crisps producer in the region.”
He adds, “We need to position our product as a premium brand that can compete with foreign brands such as Lay’s.”