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Kenya unveils online platform to automate key cash crops

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Kenya Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives, has launched a system that automates issuance of import and export services provided by the Agriculture and Food Authority of Kenya (AFA), the government regulatory agency.

The system was developed by AFA and TradeMark East Africa (TMEA), automating agricultural business processes in Kenya including issuance of permits and licensing.

Named the AFA-Integrated Management Information System (AFA-IMIS); this is an 8-in-1 Single Window Information for Trade (SWIFT) system covering the certification and licensing of trade in cash crops including tea, coffee, nuts, oils, sugar, horticulture, flowers, cotton, sisal, pyrethrum, food crops and other industrial crops. It will provide an efficient platform for delivery of technical and advisory services, market research, product development, regulations and compliance functions for export and import of the cash crops.

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Denmark funded the development of the system with a contribution of US$1.37 million.

The event was graced by Royal Danish Embassy Counsellor Morgen Strunge Larsen, AFA Director General Mr. Kello Harsama, TMEA Senior Director for Trade Environment Mr. Alban Odhiambo and TMEA Country Director Mr. Ahmed Farah HSC.

Speaking at the event, Director General of AFA Kello Harsama acknowledged the support and reiterated AFAs’ commitment to ensure safe food is marketed within and out of Kenya. 

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“This system will help us serve the agriculture sector well. As AFA we are not only concerned with food that is coming into Kenya, but also food that is being produced in Kenya. Soon we will start surveillance on food grown in Kenya like tomatoes, to enforce regulations on pesticide use and ensure food supplied to markets from our farms is fit for human consumption.”

On his part Denmark’s Counsellor Morgen reiterated Denmark’s commitment to support Kenyas’ green trade efforts and the continued fight against COVID-19.  He remarked “COVID-19 has challenged the capacity of the society to work remotely. Kenya is well positioned to so, and this new system is money well spent.

TMEAs, Mr. Odhiambo noted that in the last year, TMEA supported development of over 15 online systems in government agencies as part of its contribution to the digitization agenda. This, he remarked will reduce not only the costs and time taken to trade, but support efforts for green trade as paper use within government agencies is reduced.  

At the same time, TMEA Country Director Mr. Farah in remarks given before the event said that programming in Kenya will continue supporting the Government Agenda in creating jobs, and enhancing economic development. He noted that digitization is a key catalyst for industrialization as it provides critical and efficient market linkages as well as enhancing the business operating by bringing down the costs of production

The automation will reduce the time and costs related to regulation and compliance of import and export of agricultural plant products, by almost half.  Stakeholders will no longer need to visit the directorate for services related to application and processing of licensing, as this can now be done online. AFA also predicts to significantly reduce incidences of loss and duplication of records and reduce lack of accountability of crop production by stakeholders. The data collected via the system will inform better decision making in the regulation and administration of agricultural commodities.

The portal will provide important information necessary in the export and import as related to production, processing, and trading in agricultural commodities regulated by AFA directorates. This will eliminate a key barrier to trade – access and availability of information.

AFA IMIS has integrated payment platforms which provides guarantee of services through end-to-end processing of applications. 4500 permits/licenses and certificates have been issued through the system since its operationalization started in January 2020. The system has been integrated to the Kenya Electronic Single Window.

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