Information Technology and Rural Market Performance in Central India

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Sep 18, 2009
Information Technology and Rural Market Performance in Central India data sheet 1508 Views
Aparajita Goyal
Publication Date: 
Aug 2008
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

Can price information improve the functioning of rural markets in ways that benefit farmers? Beginning in October 2000, a private company established internet kiosks and warehouses that provide wholesale price information and an alternative marketing channel to soybean farmers in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. Using a new market-level dataset with spatial geo-coded information, the estimates suggest a significant increase in the monthly wholesale market price of soybeans after the introduction of kiosks, lending support to the predictions of the theoretical model. Moreover, there is a robust increase in area under soy cultivation. The results suggest that information can enhance the functioning of rural markets by increasing the competitiveness of local buyers.

Impacts of Mobile Phone Coverage Expansion on Market Participation: Panel Data Evidence from Uganda

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Sep 18, 2009
Impacts of Mobile Phone Coverage Expansion on Market Participation: Panel Data Evidence from Uganda data sheet 2481 Views
Megumi Muto
Publication Date: 
Mar 2008
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

Uganda has experienced a rapid increase of area covered by mobile phone service. As the information flow increases due to the mobile phone coverage expansion, the cost in crop marketing is expected to decrease, particularly more so for perishable crops, such as bananas, in remote areas. The article uses panel data of 856 households in 94 communities, where the number of the communities covered by the mobile phone network increased from 41 to 87 communities over a two-year period between the first and second surveys in 2003 and 2005, respectively.

The authors find that the proportion of the banana farmers who sold banana increased from 50 to 69 percent in the communities more than 20 miles away from district centers after the expansion of the mobile phone coverage. For maize, which is another staple but less perishable crop, the authors find that mobile phone coverage did not affect market participation. These results suggest that mobile phone coverage expansion induces market participation of farmers who are located in remote areas and produce perishable crop.

The Power of Information: The Impact of Mobile Phones on Farmers' Welfare in the Philippines

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Sep 18, 2009
The Power of Information: The Impact of Mobile Phones on Farmers' Welfare in the Philippines data sheet 3343 Views
Julien Labonne, Robert S. Chase
Publication Date: 
Jul 2009
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

The authors explore the impact of access to information on poor farmers' consumption. The analysis combines spatially coded data on mobile phone coverage with household panel data on farmers from some of the poorest areas of the Philippines.

Both the ordinary least squares and instrumental variable estimates indicate that purchasing a mobile phone has a large, positive impact on the household-level growth rate of per capita consumption. Estimates range from 11 to 17 percent, depending on the sample and the specification chosen.

The authors perform a range of reliability tests, the results of which all suggest that the instruments are valid. They also present evidence consistent with the argument that easier access to information allows farmers to strike better price deals within their existing trading relationships and to make better choices in terms of where they choose to sell their goods.


Posted by wildneil on Sep 09, 2009

WildKnowledge (WK) are a spin out company from Oxford Brookes University in the UK. WK enables members to create and share mobile recording forms (WildForm), decision trees (WildKey), maps (WildMap) and diagrams (WildImage). These tools enable the user to make informed decisions in the field and gather good quality data. This collated data can then be uploaded and shared as part of collaborative projects. Most of our members are UK school children and students, we are keen to explore new areas both geographically and contextually. All WK applications are wep apps and can work on any device with a web browser from a mobile device to a laptop (functionality will vary according to browser's capabilities).

Organization Type: 
United Kingdom

Using CAM-equipped Mobile Phones for Procurement and Quality Control at a Rural Coffee Cooperative

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Sep 08, 2009
Using CAM-equipped Mobile Phones for Procurement and Quality Control at a Rural Coffee Cooperative data sheet 1725 Views
Yael Schwartzman, Tapan S. Parikh
Publication Date: 
May 2007
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

With globalization, small rural producers must compete in a competitive economic market. Due to their small size and limited financial capacity, they face significant challenges in doing so. We discuss the design and evaluation of two mobile phone based tools to help small producers achieve economies of scale and a quality premium.

These tools were developed using CAM, a camera-based mobile phone application framework specifically designed for the rural developing world. CAM DPS (Delivery Processing System) efficiently captures transactions between producers and cooperatives, in order to monitor remote inventory levels, and document the price paid to the producer. CAM RANDI (Representation AND Inspection tool) allows local inspectors to digitally capture the condition of farm parcels, using a combination of paper, text, audio and images. Using this data, rural producer cooperatives can improve their efficiency and monitoring, and ensure conformance with quality and certification standards. A preliminary evaluation suggests that these applications are accessible to target users and will serve a significant need.

Peace Corps

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Sep 01, 2009

The Peace Corps traces its roots and mission to 1960, when then-Senator John F. Kennedy challenged students at the University of Michigan to serve their country in the cause of peace by living and working in developing countries. From that inspiration grew an agency of the federal government devoted to world peace and friendship. Since that time, more than 195,000 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in 139 host countries to work on issues ranging from AIDS education to information technology and environmental preservation.

Organization Type: 
Washington, D.C.

Picture of the Day: Fish Call the Fishermen

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Jul 22, 2009

This made my day today. Thank you, wonderful Afrigadget, the brilliant and wonderful resource on African innovation.

"Pascal Katana, a Fourth Year student at the Department of Electrical and Information Engineering at the University of Nairobi, Kenya, developed an electronic device that ‘automates’ fishing. The trap employs amplification of the sound made by fish while feeding. The acoustic signals are radiated and attract other fish who head toward the direction of the source thinking there is food there.

Once a good catch is detected by a net-weighing mechanism, it triggers a GPRS/GSM device attached to the system and the fisherman gets a call/sms informing him that his catch is ready. Pascal is in the process of developing a by-catch control system which will ensure that his contraption doesn’t cause overfishing.

Photo from Afrigadget

“Can You Hear Me Now?” How Cell Phones are Transforming Markets in Sub-Saharan Africa

Posted by LeighJaschke on Jul 17, 2009
“Can You Hear Me Now?” How Cell Phones are Transforming Markets in Sub-Saharan Africa data sheet 1889 Views
Aker, Jenny C.
Publication Date: 
Oct 2008
Publication Type: 
Cell phones are quickly transforming markets in low-income countries. The effect is particularly dramatic in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa, where cell phones often represent the fi rst development in telecommunications infrastructure. The twelve million residents of Niger, a landlocked country in West Africa, had 20,000 landlines—an estimated 2 landlines per 1,000 people—when mobile phones were fi rst introduced in 2001. Now Niger has almost 400,000 cell phone subscribers. Although the country still has the lowest rate of cell phone adoption in sub-Saharan Africa, cell phone coverage has had important implications for grain markets and hence welfare in the country.

The Digital Provide, Information (Technology), Market Place Performance, and Welfare in the South Indian Fisheries Sector

Posted by LeighJaschke on Jul 14, 2009
The Digital Provide, Information (Technology), Market Place Performance, and Welfare in the South Indian Fisheries Sector data sheet 2645 Views
Jensen, Robert
Publication Date: 
Aug 2007
Publication Type: 
Journal article

When information is limited or costly, agents are unable to engage in optimal
arbitrage. Excess price dispersion across markets can arise, and goods may not be
allocated efficiently. In this setting, information technologies may improve market
performance and increase welfare. Between 1997 and 2001, mobile phone service
was introduced throughout Kerala, a state in India with a large fishing industry.
Using microlevel survey data, we show that the adoption of mobile phones by
fishermen and wholesalers was associated with a dramatic reduction in price
dispersion, the complete elimination of waste, and near-perfect adherence to the
Law of One Price. Both consumer and producer welfare increased.

id21 insights 69 l September 2007: Research findings for development policymakers and practitioners id21 insights

Posted by LeighJaschke on Jul 14, 2009
id21 insights 69 l September 2007: Research findings for development policymakers and practitioners id21 insights data sheet 2525 Views
Donner , Jonathan
Publication Date: 
Sep 2007
Publication Type: 
Magazine or newspaper article

id21 insights is published 10 times a year and is online at Readers
may copy or quote from any article, providing the source (id21 insights) and author are
and informed. To subscribe, email with your name and
address. id21’s website,, offers free access to over 4,000 research highlights
on development policy issues including health, natural resources, education and more. This issue focuses on micro-entrepreneurs in Nigeria, mobile ladies in Bangladesh, unequal gender relations in Zambia, getting beyond the three billion mark, mobile banking and poor households in Jamaica.

The GSMA Development Fund Top 20 Research on the Economic and Social Impact of Mobile Communications in Developing Countries

Posted by LeighJaschke on Jul 14, 2009
The GSMA Development Fund Top 20 Research on the Economic and Social Impact of Mobile Communications in Developing Countries data sheet 3581 Views
HMS Wireless
Publication Date: 
May 2008
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

The positive implications of landline telecoms infrastructure and, more recently, of mobile communications on
economic growth in the developed world have long been acknowledged, with numerous studies analysing the
issue. Now that most of the developed world has reached high penetration levels of mobile phones, both current
growth patterns and future projections suggest that virtually all of the mobile industry’s new customers in the
coming years will come from developing countries. In fact, as of 2007, there were more mobile customers in
developing countries than in the entire developed world (ITU).
What impact are mobile phones having on developing countries and are user experiences and overall impacts
unique or similar to those of developed countries? While it might seem intuitive to just extrapolate from the results
of earlier studies in developed countries, the developing world is in fact leap-frogging the developed world when
it comes to mobile communication and its many uses. The implications of this technology on daily life in
developing countries appear to be more far-reaching than they were in the earlier developed country rollouts. For
example, studies have demonstrated that mobile technology is driving improvements in social links, the creation
of social capital, improved market information flows and productivity, as well as increases in GDP and Foreign
Direct Investment.
This report surveys recent research and highlights the top studies in this area based on content, relevance,
originality and credibility. While it is not an exhaustive and scientifically developed list, it illustrates the work that
we feel is most important at the moment and highlights key conclusions on the impact of mobile technology in
developing countries.
Further, while the existing research is valuable in understanding the impacts, the literature is still limited in its
coverage and scope. We therefore recommend additional research to expand evidence and knowledge, particularly
with respect to basic economic studies, prospective applications and the needs of users around financial services.
We also call on stakeholders such as mobile operators, governments, industry groups, foundations and
development organisations to play their part in improving information sharing, increasing research and driving
developments in these countries.
Finally, we provide information on additional research on impacts and policy issues, as well.

Automating Internal Control at a Rural Coffee Cooperative

Posted by LeighJaschke on Jul 14, 2009
Automating Internal Control at a Rural Coffee Cooperative data sheet 2614 Views
Vila; Mario, Scwartzman, Yael; Parikh, Tapan S.
Publication Date: 
Sep 2006
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

Internal control systems allow agricultural cooperatives
to monitor the growing practices of their members, ensuring
adherence to various standards for quality, and for meeting
external certification requirements. In this paper, we present
the motivation, design and evaluation of an automated mobile
data collection, evaluation and reporting tool for internal control
at a coffee cooperative. Our design goals were to improve the
efficiency of this process, and to increase the accountability of
various stakeholders. Based on a three-month pilot deployment,
we have demonstrated a 30% reduction in inspection time and
71% reduction in evaluation time, compared to the earlier paperbased
approach, which relied on several manual data collection
and information processing steps. We also present the results
of a qualitative evaluation of the system, including real field
experiences and the perceived benefits and drawbacks of the
automated system from the perspective of inspectors, farmers
and other stakeholders.

Education, mobile phone use and production decisions: a rural case study in Peru

Posted by LeighJaschke on Jul 01, 2009
Education, mobile phone use and production decisions: a rural case study in Peru data sheet 1751 Views
Agüero, Aileen
Publication Date: 
May 2009
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

In many parts of the world, mobile phones are important devices that have proven to be the first
opportunity for many people to have access to telecommunications. Considering the possible
impact of this development in welfare, the main purpose of this research is to investigate how
important formal education is for using mobile phones in making production decisions.
Specifically, we will analyze if this kind of technology is employed for production decisions in
rural areas in Puno, a Peruvian department in the southern highlands, bordering Bolivia. In
our case, production comprises livestock and agriculture. One of the main results is that no
matter how educated people are; if education is of poor quality, it will not have a significant
impact on the probability of making an effective use of mobile phones.

Earth Day and Mobile Phones, Part 2: Making the Environment Better One SMS at a Time

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Apr 22, 2009

Sensing is just one way in which mobiles are used in environmental protection. Another promising area is wildlife protection in sensitive areas where humans and animals collide, often to the detriment of protected animals. In the Laikipia District in Kenya, the University of Cambridge conducted a project using mobile phones to protect and manage Kenya's second largest elephant population, and the ecosystem they inhabit.  The goal was to alleviate human-elephant conflict between local farmers and the protected elephants.  The project used mobile phones for early warning of elephants approaching farmland by using 'push-to-talk' technologies, and GPS/GSM collars for the elephants, allowing wildlife personnel to intervene before elephant became a danger to farmers and vice versa. 

Mobile Application Survey! Wanted: Your Mobile Apps for Social Development

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Mar 03, 2009

We are looking for your mobile application! is collecting detailed information about mobile applications used for health, social development, advocacy, education, civic media, human rights, and other civil society areas.

If you have or are developing a mobile application used in social development, please complete this survey!  There is currently no comprehensive database of mobile applications for social development available and we want to change that.

So, we need your help in building as-close-to-complete Mobile Applications Database, and learn more about your mobile apps used for social development.  Here is the survey!

We will share all applications widely on this site with organizations, press, and interested donors.

P.S.  Feel free to forward to relevant organizations, lists, and individuals! 

Photo: Mobile application at MobileActive08

Virtual Forum "Mobile Telephony in Rural Areas" 17-28 November 2008

Posted by cmasiello on Oct 29, 2008

Mobile phones bridge the rural digital divide, bring economic benefits, and act as agents of social mobilization through improved communication. But what are the real challenges of reaching rural areas, and what are some of today’s most beneficial applications that can help rural communities, specifically regarding agriculture development?

The Virtual Forum on "Mobile Telephony in Rural Areas" will examine the challenges that rural communities face in enhancing the benefits of mobile telephony, and look at some examples of interesting initiatives and good outcomes from around the globe.

Subject Matter experts include:

Text Messaging to Save Trees

Posted by CorinneRamey on May 13, 2008

Mobile phones are nothing new for Greenpeace Argentina. The organization has used mobile phones multiple times to mobilize its now 350,000 person-strong mobile list to successfully lobby for important environmental legislation. One of Greenpeace's significant accomplishments was the passage of the Ley de Bosques, or Forest Law.

According to a recently UN/Vodaphone report, Wireless Technology for Social Change: Trends in NGO Mobile Use, before the law was passed forests in Argentina were being quickly destroyed. From the report:

Every hour, trees covering an area the size of forty soccer fields are cleared from the old growth forests of Argentina, home to indigenous tribes and numerous endangered species. According to Greenpeace, 300,000 hectares (3,000 square kilometers or 1,150 square miles) of native forest are cleared in Argentina each year.