Akandi Natural Mineral Water: Ensuring health safeguards from source through production to consumption
Written by: George Kalisa
Monday, November 5th, 2018, 9:19
The Light Magazine unveils findings of a survey on why Akandi natural mineral water is fast gaining consumer confidence and trust as the safest brand in Rwanda. The profound and elaborated three-month survey involved a visit to Tare also known as Nyirangarama, the home of Akandi natural mineral water whose share of Rwanda’s beverage industry is ever growing.
According to this survey Akandi natural mineral water whose production dates back to 2012 meets the demand for pure water and continues to meet consumers’ tastes and preferences in the young but booming beverage industry in the East African Community bloc.
Thus, it is no surprise that the Rwanda’s Standards Board (RSB) certified Akandi natural mineral water, becoming part of a growing list of mineral water brands on the Rwandan market.
Also, the survey involved asking questions to ardent consumers of Akandi to establish reasons behind their undying appetite for this water band.
Situated approximately half way between Kigali-Musanze highway, Nyirangarama doubles as a refreshment stopover for passengers and tourists heading to Musanze, Rubavu, Goma and beyond.
Passengers’ and tourists’ shopping lists will have Akandi natural mineral water, popularly known as Akandi in number one and underlined to quench thirst, kill fatigue, improve moods, look elegant, feel stronger, healthier and fresher. The swift penetration and unequalled quality of Akandi natural mineral water have become a force to reckon with in Kigali city and the country. You can only share the secret in the water with the majority by drinking it.
Source of Akandi natural mineral water
The appearance of the intermittent streams on Mt. Gihora in Rulindo Disstrict could be traced to the times of intense seismic activity in the region according to both geographical evidence and traditions gathered in the area.
Born in 1927, Donatilla Nyiranzabaza says her in-laws and their grandparents drank from the Gihora streams.
“When I married to my late husband, I found my in-laws and all people drinking from the streams of Mt. Gihora,” reminiscences Nyiranzabaza.
The existence of the all-weather Bahimba stream in the valley that separates Gihora and other mountains like Tare is evidence of the link between the mountainous terrain in this area with the Albertine rift while the presence poor soils points to absence of volcanic activities.
Hence, the water from Mt. Gihora is largely acid-free with huge quantities of chloride, potassium, magnesium, calcium which make the Akandi water rich in properties that make it healthy and recommendable - a reason it is much sought-after.
The Albertine topography lies between 1,000-1,750 metres of altitude which makes Akandi water free from environ mental contamination associated with deposition.
The water that local folks fondly call Akandi naturally undergoes a long purification process through a depth of strata of rock, gravel, chalk and sand before it finds its way into a huge underground water tank constructed by the Urwibutso Enterprises, the local company behind the Akandi natural mineral water.
Safeguards against water contamination at the source
The source of Akandi water is a no go area. There is a perimeter fence made of strong wooden poles and barbed wires around an area equivalent to half of a football pitch. This area is only accessed by technical staff and Jean Baptiste Nerese of Nyirangarama village who keeps the place spotless and manicured.
The underground water tank at the source where Mt. Gihora water collects before it is propelled though underground pipes by gravity to the state-of the- art plant at Nyirangarama for processing and packaging.
Right from the source to the bottles there is hardly any human contact with the water to ensure safety and quality of Akandi natural mineral water.
“Entering the factory is prohibited,” Theogéne Ngabonziza the marketing manager of Entreprise Urwibutso told this reporter who inquisitively asked if he could take photos of the inside area of the plant.
Urwibutso Enterprise produces its own plastic containers in different sizes to ensure maximum purity and production of the best quality of the water before it goes to the market alongside operating the most technologically sterilized filling technology system. Apart from keeping the plant’s premises under exceptional maintenance, Akandi water is bottled
under stringent hygienic conditions.
As to why clients had Akandi natural water as their preference, over 90% of the respondents said the brand worked for them while the remaining 10% took it without specific reasons.
“Akandi natural mineral water works for my family and I,” said a passenger who spoke on conditions of anonymity and was in a hurry to catch up with the bus that plies Kigali-Rubavu highway.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Entreprise Urwibutso, the producer of Akandi natural mineral water, gives back to the community. For instance, it constructed a protected well for the community, just a few metres from the source. Some residents [pictured] whom this reporter interacted with at the well in Gihora village said they were grateful to Sina Gerald, the Managing Director of Urwibutso Enterprise for the great work of constructing a well, which they fondly call Akandi.
“He helped the community, the water is now protected, clean and safe following the construction of this well and he has been there for us. Apart from water he has established schools in the area,” said Anastase Nteziyaremye, one of residents who was fetching water the day this reporter was there.
Sina Gerald is the founding director of COLLEGE FOUNDATION SINA GERALD and SINA GERALD NURSERY SCHOOL which are located along the Kigali-Musanze highway and in the heart of Tare town and hence they are more accessible to the beneficiaries.