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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.

Farm Radio Weekly

Notes to broadcasters on mobile phone banking

A recent report by Groupe Spéciale Mobile Association (GSM) found that Africa has the fastest growing mobile phone market in the world. The GSM report predicts that there will be more than 735 million subscribers in Africa by the end of 2012.

Kenya is an example of the popularity of mobile phone banking, with the MPesa mobile money transfer becoming a widely-used service. Many observers expect that similar services in Zimbabwe will be just as successful and fast-growing. For people who live in rural areas, mobile banking is a great option. Many development agencies believe that services that can be provided through mobile phones will make great strides towards empowering rural communities. Farm Radio International has used mobile phone technology to enable listeners to participate in, or re-listen to, radio programs.

For background information and research on the use of mobile phones in development efforts, visit: http://audiencescapes.org/

MobileActive is a site for people using mobile technology “for social impact”: http://mobileactive.org/

Here is a recent news item about the success of MPesa in Kenya: http://thenextweb.com/africa/2011/10/24/local-transactions-by-kenyas-mobile-money-service-m-pesa-exceeds-western-unions-global-transactions/[k2]

Here are some previous Farm Radio Weekly stories featuring mobile phones and related technology:

Kenya: Farmers link to markets through SMS (FRW 99, February 2010) http://weekly.farmradio.org/2010/02/15/2-kenya-farmers-link-to-markets-through-sms-farm-radio-weekly-flooded-cellar-productions/

Africa: Cell phones help farmers and traders do business more efficiently (FRW 7, January 2008) http://weekly.farmradio.org/2008/01/21/4-africa-cell-phones-help-farmers-and-traders-do-business-more-efficiently-farm-radio-weekly-africanewscom/

-Africa: African fishers and farmers will get more accurate weather info to better deal with climate change (FRW 73, July 2009) http://weekly.farmradio.org/2009/07/13/2-africa-african-fishers-and-farmers-will-get-more-accurate-weather-info-to-better-deal-with-climate-change-farm-radio-weekly-and-global-humanitarian-forum/

You may wish to gauge the opinions of your listeners on cellular technologies and agriculture, or you may wish to research a local story on the topic. Here are some questions that might help:

– How do farmers in your area sell their products?
– Do farmers in your area have access to cell phones? If so, do they use SMS to receive market prices or sell goods?
– Have farmers in your area increased their incomes by using cell phones?
– Do farmers use their cell phones to receive or exchange other information that helps them in their farming?
If you interview farmers who use cell phones, we would be very interested in hearing their stories. E-mail us at farmradioweekly@farmradio.org.

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