Mobile services 'to boost farm economies'
Massachusetts (US), November 28, 2010
The arrival of more robust mobile data services will trigger the development of "m-agriculture" applications that will help make agricultural economies in the Middle East and Africa region more efficient and more profitable, said a new report.
Pyramid Research, a provider of practical advice on emerging market and service opportunities, in its report said 27 per cent of the revenue for the mobile network operators (MNOs) in the MEA region will come from data services by 2015.
As a result, the increasing mobile phone subscriptions, and the large agricultural workforce in Africa and the Middle East make m-agriculture applications an area worth developing for MNOs, it added.
The use of mobile applications in agriculture provides mobile phone users in the MEA region with several
socioeconomic benefits that vary from better crop management to increased income, the report said.
Although it is still too early to document the direct impact it will have for mobile network operators, the experience with
other applications in the region leads us to believe that m-agriculture will contribute to lower churn rates, increased network traffic, and increased loyalty, it added.
Productivity and efficiency in the agricultural sector are often crucial to a country's stability for economies in the developing world that still rely heavily on agricultural production.
"The volatility of global food prices is a continuing concern, and when pricing transparency and information on the supply
of crops are unavailable or inaccurate, food security can become threatened by panic buying and hoarding," said Ronda Zelezny-Green, associate research analyst at Pyramid.
Due to poor infrastructure in some of these countries, it is difficult to receive accurate information about crop pricing and other market conditions.
As a result, large agricultural populations often rely on middlemen to obtain this information. "Additionally, a lack of understanding about outside factors, such as insects, droughts, and disease that can afflict crops, leaves agricultural populations prone to crop loss," Zelezny-Green observed.
"These stark realities highlight the potential of m-agriculture applications to deliver on-demand agricultural information to the most vulnerable, thus creating a virtuous cycle of increased prosperity for farmers and operators alike," he added.-TradeArabia News Service