In recent years, farmers around the world have been able to utilize their cell phones to improve their access to information and their control over their operation. On our farm, we use mobile technology and applications to track all the details of our farm. This innovation has allowed our family to improve the efficiency of our farm.
Although African access to most basic services lags behind developed countries in most respects, that is not the case for cell phones. Their ability to ‘leap-frog’ the need for landlines has allowed them to avoid spending perhaps tens of billions of dollars on that infrastructure and has also opened up their entire economy to new opportunities provided by mobile phone technology.
Because most farmers in developing countries are smallholders with only a few acres under cultivation, phone apps which help them increase their market power can yield better crop prices. The app m-Farm is utilized by 7,000 Kenyan farmers to track market prices, aggregate their products for sale and allows them to purchase inputs such as seed and fertilizer without going through a middleman.
Since at least half of the world’s 795 million food insecure people are smallholder farmers and their family members, cost effective innovations in technology such as this that helps improve their livelihoods on the farm can make a huge dent in reducing global hunger. On World Food Day, that is a goal worth pursuing.
Kassi Tom Rowland
Farm Journal Foundation-Indiana Farm Team Lead