Initiative aims to boost competitiveness of Senegal’s agriculture sector
Senegalese companies that rely on plant and seed imports will enjoy simpler and quicker processes in receiving their shipments thanks to a new project co-created by the government and the private sector with support from the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation.
The new project, announced today, will digitise key processes governing plant and seed imports, removing the burden on traders, farmers, distributors, and small businesses that have often waited days for their records to be reviewed, usually making multiple trips to confer with officials from different agencies along the way.
Senegal’s overriding aim is boost agricultural production and increase the sector’s contribution to the local economy. Agriculture currently makes up around 10% of Senegal’s total output but employs 69% of its workforce.
Plant and seed imports are important inputs in agricultural production but many in the sector have struggled to identify and understand what paperwork is needed to comply with import processes and then have lost time delivering these records and having them checked while their perishable goods wait at the ports of entry.
This new, two-year project will identify those processes that should be automated and the plant products that would most benefit from a modernised approach and a review of the applicable legal and regulatory frameworks. It will design and implement digital solutions, train border officials in their use and inform traders and others about how the new system will work.
Alliance projects are built upon collaboration between the public and private sectors throughout the initiative to most effectively identify the root causes of trade barriers and implement solutions that benefit both sides. The Ministry of Agriculture (through its Direction de la Protection des Végétaux), the Customs Authority, and the Senegal Single Window (Gaindé 2000) will be lead partners from the public sector.
The project will digitise two key import processes for plant-based products and selected seeds, namely onions, orange sweet potatoes, cherry tomatoes, and potatoes.
The Alliance will draw on examples and benchmarks from similar modernisation projects in Africa, analyse import data, and assist with the design and implementation of the new system, as well as training. The project will lean on private sector experience and create a platform for participation of local agri-businesses and horticulture associations.
Senegal will see increased tax revenues and a more efficient system for ensuring the quality of plant and seed imports, while also seeing a more vibrant agriculture sector freed from the red tape that might be holding back small and medium companies growing their businesses.
“This project is designed to save local businesses as much as an entire day that would otherwise been spent traveling to government offices, filling out paperwork, and awaiting document checks on arrival,” said Philippe Isler, Director of the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation. “A select group of companies will also contribute to the project’s success by contributing data on their time savings so we can best track our progress as we go, showing how private and public sector collaboration can yield the best outcomes in trade facilitation.”
Developed as part of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)’s Partnership Programme for Employment and the Promotion of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SI Jobs) initiative, the project aims to contribute to the government’s Emerging Sustainable Plan, including the creation of sustainable jobs in the agricultural sector.