Rwanda leverages of E-commerce to growth agriculture value chain, boost market access

RWANDA – Rwanda has unveiled its first ever National Strategy on E-commerce in Agriculture Value Chains, aimed to strengthen online trading of agricultural products to enhance market access.

The project set to run for size years (2021-2026), will be spearheaded by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

According to reports by Rwanda New Agency, the initiative will build on the existing digital platforms, and country’s efforts to promote innovation and use of ICT in boosting agricultural production and increasing the involvement of youth in the agricultural sector.

“The E-commerce in agriculture will boost the capacity of SMEs in Rwanda to export and trade efficiently locally, but most importantly will contribute to agribusiness development in the country.”

Nomathemba Mhlanga – FAO Agribusiness Officer

The currently existing E-commerce instruments in Rwanda are e-soko+ for market price information system and e-portal for import and export products in agriculture.

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The recent strategy has been developed through the FAO project “Support Local supplier’s Capacity Development and Promotion of E-commerce for Agricultural Value Chains in Rwanda”, which also developed webpages for 20 businesses to introduce them and build their capacities on the use of online marketing.

“The E-commerce in Agriculture Value Chains will support small and medium enterprises to better access existing market opportunities without having to leave their respective places of operation. The web pages created will facilitate the businesses to increase online presence.

“We still need collaboration from all partners in the promotion of E-commerce in Agriculture Value Chains in the country,” Diane Sayinzoga, Head of Special Economic Zones and Exports Department at RDB said.

The new E-commerce in agriculture value chains strategy will emphasize on promotion and strengthening of national and international trade of agriculture products through safe and reliable E-commerce platforms.

The areas of focus under the project will include building the capacity of farmers’ cooperatives and agribusiness actors to use E-commerce platforms in online trading; raise awareness on the use of the E-commerce platforms in the agriculture value chains; support the establishment and operationalization of a reliable logistical system adapted to the E-commerce in the agriculture value chains; and support the establishment of a conducive policy and legal framework for E-commerce in agriculture value chains.

“The E-commerce in agriculture will boost the capacity of SMEs in Rwanda to export and trade efficiently locally, but most importantly will contribute to agribusiness development in the country.

“The businesses will be empowered to effectively use E-commerce as a tool to strengthen online trading services and products,” Nomathemba Mhlanga, FAO Agribusiness Officer said.

Rwanda has also been leveraging the use of E-commerce to expand its market base as the country recently availed its coffee products in Singapore’s leading online retail store, RedMart.

Prior to that, the country and the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba in 2018 signed an agreement that opened doors for small businesses in Africa to take part in the cross-border electronic trade by availing their products to the Chinese market through Tmall, a subsidiary online platform of Alibaba.

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