This week I did a lot of work looking into the rural and agriculture sector in ICT4D and there has been massive amounts of implementation within this field. One organization that has made tremendous strides on this topic is Reuters Market Light, which aims to provide agricultural information over mobile phones to farmers in a number of countries. There are a number of benefits to this platform.
- Reuters Market Light aims to decrease the digital divide in the agricultural world by providing these small holding farmers with crucial information so that they are able to compete with larger, industrialized farms. This will help to improve the abilities of a greater number of small farmers, rather than allowing a monopoly on success by larger farmers.
- By increasing access to information, Farmers will be able to increase their yields as they will be more educated on different important techniques and innovations in the field that they can apply to their work.
- As weather patterns are changing due to global warming, Reuters Market Light will be able to mitigate for that, and will allow for the farmers to understand new adapted practices, rather than remaining with their current strategies to no avail.
However, there are also some problems with the program as well, which do not allow it to access its full potential. For instance, the issue of infrastructure is problamatic as this program only targets those who are already in range of a mobile phone network. However, the farmers who are probably in the worst conditions and may need the most help are those who are in areas that are so under-developed that they do not yet have access to cell phones, continuing the digital divide. Also, this project continually has the difficulty of working in rural areas, rather than cities, which are often passed over for larger, metropolitan areas when it comes to aid work.