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Farm Radio Weekly is a news and information service for rural radio broadcasters in sub-Saharan Africa. It is published by Farm Radio International.

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4. Africa: Cell phones help farmers and traders do business more efficiently (Farm Radio Weekly, AfricaNews.com)

Usu Phoebe Mbasounn is a cassava trader in Nigeria. These days, she trades in the “silent market.” With the touch of a few buttons on her cell phone, Madame Cassava, as she calls herself, checks the market price and puts in her offer. In an instant, the deal is done and the cassava is sold.Madame Cassava conducts her business through a service called Tradenet. Tradenet is one of the new Internet platforms helping farmers save money and get the best price for their crops.

Tradenet allows farmers to post their products and selling price online. Text messages are then sent to people looking to buy the product. Farmers can also receive real-time market price updates on their cell phones.

Akuffo Kofi is a member of the Ghana Agricultural Producers and Traders Organization. It used to cost him time and money to take his harvest to market. But, thanks to Tradenet, he can use his cell phone to find buyers while his crops are still ripening in the fields. Some buyers will even send trucks to Mr. Kofi’s farm to pick up their merchandise.

But Tradenet is not the only service thrusting African agriculture into the virtual world.

In South Africa, 47 sugarcane farmers in the Pongola region are participating in a pilot project that uses a weather station, the Internet, and cell phone technology to help them plan irrigation.

Themba Mthembu is one of the first farmers to use this system. He receives text messages in his mother tongue suggesting when he should start, stop, or continue irrigating his sugar plantations. These alerts could help Mthembu reduce his irrigation costs by up to 300 US dollars, or about 200 Euros, per hectare.

As with Tradenet, the South African farmers participating in the irrigation project also receive text messages updating them on the latest market prices.

4 Responses to “4. Africa: Cell phones help farmers and traders do business more efficiently (Farm Radio Weekly, AfricaNews.com)”

  1. Sibonelo Says:

    It is good for the African People who dont have more materials to make sure that their businnesses are the right track

  2. Farm Radio Weekly » Farm Radio Weekly Archive » Past FRW stories of women in agriculture Says:

    […] Sibonelo – It is good for the African People… […]

  3. Farm Radio Weekly » Farm Radio Weekly Archive » Notes to broadcasters on farm info by phone: Says:

    […] that connects farmers with agricultural experts by any ICT available, from post to internet. -“Cell phones help farmers and traders do business more efficiently” (FRW Issue 7, January 2008), describes SMS services that connect farmers and traders. -“ICTs: […]

  4. Farm Radio Weekly » Farm Radio Weekly Archive » Notes to broadcasters on agriculture and mobile technologies: Says:

    […] Linking smallholder farmers to better markets, especially better-paying produce markets ? that’s the reason that the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) is expanding in agriculture. A number of ICT initiatives are popping up in African countries. The idea is to use mobile phones to resolve some of the constraints farmers face. Constraints include: poor access to information and technical advice, and insufficient access to input markets and well-paying produce markets.http://weekly.farmradio.org/2008/01/21/4-africa-cell-phones-help-farmers-and-traders-do-business-mor…) […]

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