Agricultural Productivity Gap & The Opportunity For Mobile
Over the past month we’ve been gathering data to create this infographic that we hope, conveys why we’re so excited about mobile agriculture, or mAgriculture. More specifically, we want to tell the story about the opportunity for mobile phones to bridge the information gap and thereby boost productivity and incomes of smallholder farmers in emerging markets.
Along with this infographic and other activities under the GSMA mAgri Programme, we are promoting the opportunity for the mobile industry and agricultural organisations to work together to create sustainable and valuable services for farmers in emerging markets.
What do we mean by “information gap”? Farmers in developing countries often don’t have access to agriculture-related information on the internet or in some cases, even newspapers or TV. Finding out about new drought-resistant seed varieties or even getting a reliable weather forecast is not easy. One of the typical means of getting this type of information to farmers is through extension workers but again, this has its limitations (in Tanzania for example, there is only one extension worker per 4500 farmers).
How is the information gap connected to agricultural productivity? When we talk of the information gap faced by farmers we also need to think about the bigger picture – how this impacts agricultural productivity. Of course there are many factors that affect agricultural yield, but relevant, quality and actionable information is a very important one. Considering the lack of access to up to date information on efficient farming techniques or advice on how to combat pests and diseases, it’s not surprising that crop yields in the developing world are 60% of those in the developed world.
What’s the role of mobile phones? Mobile phone penetration in the developing world is predicted to reach 101% by 2014, up from just 4% in 2000 . The mobile service providers we work with under the mFarmer Initiative are developing services for their growing rural customer base and they recognise the significant market opportunity to provide services to the rural segment, and agricultural population in particular (40% of the developed world labour force works in agriculture).
The purpose of the infographic is to highlight 3 main messages:
We recognise that there are many more factors associated with agricultural productivity and food security, such as access to financial services and infrastructure, and this infographic doesn’t aim to cover them all. We do plan to create more infographics over the coming months that will cover other important issues in agriculture today, such as the global demand for food, food prices and food wastage. Please get in touch if you have any feedback [email protected] .
 Data source: World Bank [http://data.worldbank.org/] & CIA- The World Factbook [https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html]