November 28, 2012
Empowering farmers through SMS
Mobile phone services are improving agricultural yield and profits by providing farmers advice on crops, weather and market prices. The Guardian reports.
Last year, the GSM Association reported that mobile penetration in Africa had reached 649 million subscribers – equivalent to around 65% of people – and was expected to reach more than 735 million by the end of 2012. It's a similar story in India, which already has 70 subscriptions per 100 people, with 53% of households owning a mobile phone.
The SMS function offered by even the most basic handset can be used to provide data to farmers that they previously would not have had access to. Instant updates on weather and wholesale crop prices, for example, can improve productivity and negotiating positions.
A World Bank report earlier this year described mobile networks as "a unique and unparalleled opportunity to give rural smallholders access to information that could transform their livelihoods".
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