Thijs started Hollanda Fairfoods in 2014 after his Msc research into the potato value chain of Rwanda. He was looking for opportunities on how to unlock the premium market for Rwandan Smallholder Potato Farmers while at the same time creating more jobs in the rural areas of Rwanda.
One of the first things Thijs realized was that he was not experienced in processing. Therefore, he got in touch with Hoeksche Chips for training. Hoeksche Chips is a potato processing company based in the Netherlands and known for their high quality kettle / hand cooked batch crisps produced from their home grown potatoes. It was very interesting and key to learn. Henk Scheele (one of the owners of Hoeksche Chips), helped Thijs to select the right machines and teached him to have passion for your product, crops and employees.
He then joined Thijs to Rwanda to help installing the machines and to train the team in operating them. Together with Henk they visited many farmers and tested many potato varieties to see which one works best to produce crisps.
“Henk Scheele was a great inspiration, his commitment, perseverance and believe that in Rwanda you can mobilize farmers using himself as proof was very inspiring. Until today I can consult him for advise any time we want. I am very grateful for this opportunity and have this friend as 24/7 advisor” Whenever you want to build a company you need experts that have knowledge, skills and experience in your industry. And most important share the same passion.” Thijs Boer