The Ministry of Agriculture is innovating the Saudi’s agricultural sector by launching a host of new government e-services, supporting the country’s nearly USD 5 billion domestic agribusiness market, industry experts announced today.
Supporting the agricultural sector’s growth, the Ministry of Agriculture, Oracle, and Oracle Gold Partner Omnix International have deployed a new e-government platform based on Oracle Siebel Public Sector eService that supports more than 500,000 online visitors, and 65,000 registered citizen and business users. Users can access 22 e-services such as land registration, organic crop certification, fishing and hunting permits, and access to machinery.
Boosted by increasing agricultural production in greenhouses, poultry farms, and fisheries, the Saudi’s agribusiness market is set to reach USD 4.9 billion in 2015, and grow at a rate of 4.9 percent per year to 2018, according to BMI Research. With a rapidly growing population, the Saudi’s FY2015 budget calls for SAR 60 billion in spending on water and agriculture infrastructure.
Fahad Alomani, Director of Information Systems, Ministry of Agriculture, said: “The new e-government platform which the Ministry of Agriculture uses to offer online services to the public eliminates the need for companies and citizens to go to offices, stand in line, and fill in paper forms.”
“It helped the ministry deliver an outstanding user experience while freeing specialized staff for field inspections. The average approval rate for applications submitted through the e-services portal is above 95 percent, which demonstrates its ease of use. Oracle has provided us with several reliable development platforms to scale for the future as we rapidly expand our public services,” added Fahad Alomani.
By automating business processes, the Ministry has optimized service monitoring and delivery, while enhancing transparency and reducing delays. For example, processing for applications has dropped from months to days, while operational costs have been reduced by 75 percent.
Mahmoud Musbah, Senior Vice President – Head of Public Services Solutions (PSS), Omnix International, said: “The Ministry of Agriculture’s secure, high-performance, and scalable portal is based on industry best practices with a wide range of easy-to-use plug-and-play tools. This deployment builds on our extensive public sector experience, especially for the Saudi’s government ministries, and demonstrates how the Saudi is rapidly becoming a regional leader in government technology innovation.”
In the coming months, the platform will expand to 28 e-services, and staff will be able to enhance content publishing with average processing times, documents, and wikis and blogs accessible on mobile devices. The portal has also been integrated with ministries such as the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, to reduce the time and effort to complete application prerequisites.
Thamer AL Harbi, Saudi Country Manager, Oracle, said: “Agriculture is often seen as a traditional field – but technology innovation is impacting everything from farming to raising poultry to exporting goods. With this online portal, the Ministry of Agriculture has the platform to scale for expanded services in line with increased government spending, and to demonstrate how government ministries can drive innovation.”