Commissioning of an Agricultural Trade Information System (ATMIS) in the country will spur rapid growth of the economy as farmers, agro-dealers, regulators and consumers interact easily online.
TradeMark East Africa`s (TMEA) Country Director, John Ulanga said ATMIS is a powerful digital platform that brings together all agriculture stakeholders including experts in the field and markets for commodities.
`Digitization of the agriculture sector will contribute towards rapid economic growth in the East African region because it will provide access of our commodities to the regional market,` Ulanga said while opening training of stakeholders on the how to use ATMIS in Dar es Salaam last week.
He said among other things, the platform will be used by Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives to issue permits for various goods and services but also allow farmers and agro dealers pay fees and commission online.
Ulanga further noted that TMEA has invested in the development of the digitized system to ease trade barriers related to agro-produce hence facilitating domestic and intra-regional trade in East African Community (EAC)
The TMEA chief due to its strategic location with access to the ocean and serving six landlocked countries, Tanzania has huge potential to exploit the region`s agro-produce market but so far very little has been achieved due to manual system of doing business.
`Digitization of the agriculture sector will also open up new markets in the region as online interaction is efficient compared to manual system, ` Ulanga underlined. TMEA has so far spent billions of shillings to improve trade facilities at Dar es Salaam port, remove non-tariff barriers in EAC, build capacity of the private sector and improve efficiency of regulatory bodies.
`We invested Tshs.60 billion ($26 million) in improving the Dar es Salaam port, establishment of one border post (OSBP) and Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) system harmonization choked Tshs.53 billion ($23 million) while Tshs.2 billion (869,565) has been invested in Tanroads infrastructure, he added.
The donor funded aid-for-trade not-for-profit institution also spent Tshs.2.5 billion ($1.08 million) to finance a review of the country`s trade and investment policy; initial development of a quality policy as well as that of international trade including World Trade Organization trade pacts incorporation.
TMEA has also worked with private sector associations, chambers of commerce and across border traders to build their members` capacity to exploit regional markets and contribute to rapid economic growth. Among such institutions include East African Business Council (EABC), Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF), Tanzania Chamber of Commerce Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA) and Tanzania Horticultural Association (THA).
Speaking at the same meeting, a senior official from Ministry of Agriculture, Mdili Katemani said ATMIS will help the ministry speed up processing of permits for commodity exports, issuance of sanitary and phytosanitary certificates while allowing payment also to be done online.