The Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources yesterday launched a new online portal expected to reduce the cost of importing and exporting agricultural produce.
The innovation, according to State Minister for Agriculture Tony Nsanganira, is a double win for importers and exporters of plants/plants materials, animals/animal products and agrichemicals in Rwanda.
It means they will be able to spend less time and spend less when acquiring import and export permits.
The ministry developed the portal through a direct project funding of $150, 000 secured from TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) a regional trade facilitation institution, Nsanganira told The New Times yesterday.
He lauded the new development, saying that, “ICT is no longer an option but a necessity for economic development. We can hardly do without it. We rely on the ICTs for almost all our daily activities, including communications, transport, and businesses, just to mention these few.”
The trade portal comprises of two interlinked platforms; a front-end login portal where Rwanda Agriculture Livestock Inspection and Certification Services (RALIS) stakeholders will access services ranging from information on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) requirements, international and Rwanda trade regulations, and features to access and request for services. The second platform is a Management Information System to be used by RALIS management and staff to process requests for services.
“The linkages within the system will enhance inter-government agency coordination with the aim of improving service delivery and good governance in Rwanda,” said Beatrice Uwumukiza, the Director General, RALIS.
The Management Information System has been integrated with the Rwanda Electronic Single Window, enabling information sharing between Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) and the Ministry of Agriculture.
It will also be integrated with financial systems such as the national payment gateway and banking systems, further reducing transaction and administrative costs, she noted.
Despite employing more than 72 per cent of the total population, the Agriculture sector contributed 33 per cent to the national economy during the first quarter of 2016, up from 31 per cent in the same period last year.
Government seeks to achieve 8.5 per cent growth rate for the agriculture sector by 2018, from the current 7 per cent.