Management Information System

Introduction

The agricultural sector is one of the key drivers of rural development and poverty reduction in Rwanda. Effective information management of the agricultural sector is necessary to support strategic and operational planning, monitoring and evaluation and improved implementation of the Strategic Plan for the Transformation of Agriculture (PSTA IV).

For this reason, the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) established the Agricultural Management Information System (MIS). The MIS is a management tool that helps MINAGRI decision-makers and other stakeholders to get timely access to quality information on the sector’s performance. According to MINAGRI’s reporting policy all data that are required for reporting on agricultural sector progress must be processed through the MIS.

Since its establishment in August 2016, the MIS development and implementation has been technically supported by Agri-TAF. The project employed various technical staff to support the MIS and has played a crucial role in the configuration and maintenance of the system and capacity building of stakeholders.

Purpose of the MIS

The MIS has been established to support the provision of accurate and timely information on the performance of the agricultural sector with regards to the implementation of the Strategic Plan for the Transformation of the Agriculture in Rwanda (PSTA 4). The use of the automated MIS is expected to reduce human errors in the compilation process and increase the transparency of the data. Although MINAGRI and its agencies are the main users of the MIS, other relevant institutions are also involved, including MINALOC as most data are provided by local government staff at the sector- and district level, and the National Statistics Officer of Rwanda (NISR), which uses the MIS as the main data source for the Performance contract evaluation.

The MIS is used as the main data source for routine monitoring and reporting on the agriculture sector performance. For that purpose, it captures information on the implementation of the Performance contracts (District imihigo, Joint imihigo, Institutional imihigo), MINAGRI Annual plans, INGO plans, and other planning frameworks. The MIS includes over 200 Indicators[1].

Functionality of the MIS

The MIS is based on the DHIS2 open source platform used in over 100 countries, which makes it sustainable and flexible. There is no need for programming as the system can be configured by the system administrator (formulation of indicators, users, data entry forms, reports etc.). The system is web-based but allows off-line use. The system is hosted at the National Data Centre.

The MIS includes secure access features. Users have to login the system. Each user is given specific rights for accessing certain parts of the software.

The system allows data to be recorded by computer or through Android mobile phones or tablets (using the mobile network). The latter is especially useful for field staff who do not have easy access to computers with internet connection.

Data are recorded at different levels:

  1. Sector and District reports. Most data are recorded by sector staff (Agronomists and Veterinarians) on a monthly, quarterly or seasonal basis and validated by the districts. The indicators are related to the District, MINAGRI and Joint Imihigo and annual plans.
  2. Institution reports. Data particularly related to the institutions’ focus areas are reported by technical officers or M&E focal points.
  3. NGO reports. International NGOs that have signed an MoU with MINAGRI report quarterly on their progress.
  4. Specific reports. To capture information on specific areas in the agricultural sector, separate modules are being developed. Examples are monitoring of Milk Collection Centres, Cooperatives database and Mobile App for Farmer Promoters.

To avoid duplication with other systems such as the Local government (LODA) MIS or the NISR Seasonal Agricultural Surveys (SAS), agreements are made with these institutions on what information should be captured in each system and what relevant data should be exchanged. Interfaces are being developed for this purpose.

The MIS has very powerful reporting and analysis functions. For each user, customised dashboards are included, related to their specific interests. Different types of reports and charts can be generated and saved.

The MIS system has in-built quality assurance mechanisms: logical units for sector staff to report on (kgs instead of MT), uploading of supportive documents (Girinka), and automatic validation of records (detecting outliers).

Current Status

The MIS system is fully operational and recognised as the core application for monitoring  the agricultural sector performance. The system is not only used by MINAGRI but also by other government institutions. Even the PMO stressed the importance of the MIS in a recent letter to the WorldBank Representative.   To support the implementation Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and user manuals have been developed and validated. Nonetheless, further development is still being undertaken to fully integrate all relevant indicators and information requirements related to the PSTA4 and other government strategies and interface the system with other existing information systems.

Agri-TAF has led and supported the entire development and implementation process but as the project is coming to an end in December 2019, further support is provided to the Ministry to ensure the continued management and implementation of the system. A sustainability plan has been developed and discussed with key partners in the agricultural sector.

[1] Many of the indicators comprise the same indicator but disaggregated for a specific crop.