ICTs for Development

Markets and Value Chains

Plug & Play days: connecting rural farmers to markets

through affordable and easy-to-use ICT solutions

December 12, 2014

Last week, a training workshop organised by the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), the Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC) and CTA, gathered market information practitioners and ICT innovators in Arusha, Tanzania. #AgMIS2014

Plug and Play session in Arusha, December 2014The workshop included two Plug & Play sessions in which participants witnessed the potentials of the new ICTs to manage market information and to support agricultural value chain activities, more broadly. A range of applications (“apps”) and mobile platforms were showcased, stressing the added value of these ICT solutions for effectively managing agribusiness activities.

Among the various ICT tools presented, participants were introduced to Esoko, an information and communication service for agricultural markets in Africa. Another tool to be showcased was Mobile Agribiz, a web and SMS mobile application that helps farmers decide when and how to plant crops, select the best crops for a given location using climate and weather data, and connect to the available market. In addition, the Market Information Platform for Agro-Dealers (MiPAD) and rural e-market solutions were exhibited. The latter provides market information via smartphones, tablets or computers and has been specifically developed for disadvanged rural African users. Rural e-market is multilingual, easy to use and, most important of all, affordable.

Among others, representatives of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the Regional Agricultural Trade Information Network (RATIN), the East Africa Exchange (EAX), and Tech4Farmers were in attendance.