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How technology can cure market failures? Agriculture in the Information Age | The Economist Special Report

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This article surmises that in Africa technology can help farmers not lose income by knowing ahead when to sell their produce. Technology can connect farmers to the markets; market failure is an outcome of a communication failure between farmers and markets. The solution of 2KUZE, is a commercial system designed by MasterCard which links farmers and trading in a virtual market place, using text messages on basic mobile phones. This is an example of the many simple technological innovations that can transform agriculture in African countries, and improve income of smallholder farmers.

The situation in sub-Saharan Africa when compared with the rest of the world shows a stunted growth. Yet, it is premised that mobile phone and computers can help alleviate most small holder farmers ills in this region.

Some initiatives covered in the report:

  • Olam – one of the world’s biggest cocoa buyers are using mobile phones and text message to connect with farmers. Using smart phones, Olam has mapped farmers and geolocated them to connect them to the markets.
  • Wefarm – ‘has established a social network for farmers and allows them to exchange information by text message’(economist)
  • Acre Africa – offers insurance to farmers for their crops and animals. The interesting aspects about Acre Africa is that, if its automatic weather monitors in the field detect a drought, farmers receive a pay-out through their phones without submitting a claim.

Read the article here for more information

Source: The Economist

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