Agricultural workers in Ethiopia such as farmers and
researchers came together in Addis Ababa to discuss a farmers market
information system (FMIS). This system will include a text message information
service for farmers in Ethiopia’s Oromia province.
Purpose of the workshops was to identify the needs of
several actors in the agriculture field such as farmers, farmers unions,
agricultural experts and traders and suppliers of cultivation products. The
meeting also allowed the agriculture workers to classify their requirements on
the features of the farmers market information system and. The system will be
built by Ethiopian mobile technology company Apposit LLC with the support of
Connect4Change consortium members IICD, Texttochange and ICCO and Dutch ICT
The Farmers Market Information System will function as a
database with a mobile component, giving its users all the information they
seek, in different user interfaces, adjusted to their needs.
Field visits in local farmers market organizations,
indicated that more than 50% of the farmers in the Oromia Region make use of
mobile phones and value this use in their daily life. Through the FMIS, the
farmers will be able to receive information on market prices for their
products, the weather forecast, or availability of fertilisers with a simple
text message. In addition to this, they will be provided with solar mobile
chargers to facilitate them, as at the moment, every time they need to charge
their phones, they are forced to visit the nearest village on a market day and
pay an amount of money to have it charged.
Farmers market organizations and unions will use the Farmers
Market Information System to aggregate data from individual farmers about what
and how many products they grow. With these data, they will be able to analyze
and monitor the production of agricultural goods in their area.
The Farmers Information System will also be used by traders
and suppliers of cultivation products to retrieve information on which products
are being cultivated and provide the farmers with the necessary market
information or products such as fertilizers suitable to their crop.
In the first phase, the Farmers Market Information System
will be used by 16500 farmers in the Oromia Region, with the possibility to
upscale it to other provinces. The system will be developed by the Ethiopian
mobile technology company Apposit LLC with the support of IICD and fellow
Connect4change members, ICCO and Texttochange,
as well as with the support of 1Zero.