In a recent report,
titled Connected Agriculture, Vodafone and
Accenture identified 12 opportunities for mobile phone technology to
increase agricultural income and productivity. Some of these
platforms are already widely used in Africa, while others are still
in the early stages of implementation.
1. Mobile payment
systems give farmers without access to financial services an
inexpensive and secure way to transfer and save money using their
mobile phones. By allowing smallholder farmers to save small amounts
of money, receive payments quickly in times of need and pay for
agricultural inputs via their phones, mobile payment systems replace
costly traditional transfer services and the need to travel long
distances to collect funds.
micro-insurance systems can safeguard farmers against losses when bad
weather harms their harvest, encouraging them to buy better quality
seeds and invest in fertiliser and other inputs. This can improve
productivity and boost farmers’ livelihoods as well as enabling
suppliers to expand their market among smallholder farmers.
Micro-lending platforms could connect
smallholders in Africa with individuals elsewhere willing to provide
finance to help the farmers to buy much-needed agricultural inputs.
Through mobile information platforms,
farmers receive text messages with information that help to improve
the productivity of their land and boost their incomes. Governments
and agricultural support organizations can use the platforms to
distribute information about available subsidies and programmes.
5. Farmer helplines
Farmers call a helpline and speak to
agricultural experts who can provide answers to agricultural queries.
6. Smart logistics
Smart logistics uses mobile technology
to help distribution companies manage their fleets more efficiently –
reducing costs for farmers and distributors, cutting fuel use and
potentially preventing food losses.
7. Traceability and
Mobile technology can be used to track
individual food products through the supply chain from grower to
8. Mobile management
of supplier networks
Food buyers and exporters can use
mobile phones to manage their networks of small-scale growers and
help field agents collect information.
9. Mobile management
of distribution networks
Distributors of farming inputs such as
seeds and fertiliser could use mobile technology to gather sales and
stock data, improving availability for farmers and increasing sales.
Linking smallholder farmers directly
with potential buyers through a mobile trading platform could help
them to secure the best price for their produce.
Online platforms for submitting and
bidding on tenders for food distribution, processing and exporting
could make the agricultural supply chain more competitive and
Mobile could help agricultural workers
in rural areas exchange goods and services and improve communities’
livelihoods. For rural people with little or no disposable income,
exchanging goods, services and skills with community members is an
important part of their livelihoods.
(Source: Africa News)