A new strategy on e-commerce in agricultural value chains could increase Rwanda’s export capacity according to agricultural experts.
The strategy was unveiled last week by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Rwanda Development Board (RDB).
It aims to strengthen the promotion of online trade in agricultural products in order to improve market access.
The six-year strategy “National Strategy for Electronic Commerce in Agricultural Value Chains” from 2021 to 2026 builds on the existing rapid digital expansion and the country’s efforts to promote innovation and the use of ICTs. to stimulate agricultural production and increase youth participation. in the agricultural sector.
The strategy was developed through the project “Supporting the capacity development of local suppliers and the promotion of e-commerce for agricultural value chains in Rwanda”, which also developed web pages for 20 companies in order to present and promote them. build their capacity on the use of online marketing.
Diane Sayinzoga, head of the Special Economic Zones and Exports Department at RDB, said the web pages created will make it easier for companies to increase their online presence.
“E-commerce is even more relevant during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic and future shocks. E-commerce in agricultural value chains will help small and medium enterprises to better access existing market opportunities without having to leave their respective places of operation. We still need the collaboration of all partners in promoting e-commerce in agricultural value chains in the country, ”she said.
E-commerce in agricultural value chains is particularly still new and in its infancy.
The existing e-commerce instruments are e-soko + for the market price information system and the electronic portal for import and export products in agriculture.
According to Nomathemba Mhlanga, head of agribusiness at FAO, “E-commerce in agriculture will strengthen the capacity of Rwandan SMEs to export and trade efficiently locally, but above all will contribute to the development of agribusiness in the country. Businesses will be empowered to effectively use e-commerce as a tool to enhance e-commerce services and products. “
The use of e-commerce is also expected to reduce post-harvest waste through better market efficiency, increased financial inclusion, savings in time and money, easy market access for inputs, management effective cash flow, accountability and transparency, linkages between agricultural researchers, extension and farmers, thereby improving agricultural production and productivity.
Priority areas of the strategy
The new e-commerce strategy in agricultural value chains will focus on promoting and strengthening national and international trade in agricultural products.
Areas of intervention will include building the capacity of farmers’ cooperatives and agro-industry actors to use e-commerce platforms in online commerce and raising awareness of the use of e-commerce platforms in online commerce. agricultural value chains.
It also involves supporting the establishment and operationalization of a reliable logistics system adapted to electronic commerce in agricultural value chains, and supporting the establishment of a political and legal framework conducive to electronic commerce. in agricultural value chains.