Market Information Systems

In this section I provide a list of all ICT4D projects dealing with markets, agriculture and trading in general that I have been able to find. As my interests focus on trade with agricultural commodities, initiative dealing with markets of agricultural products are more prominent. The list has also developed a focus on project in Africa and the Asia-Pacific region. Needless to say, many of the featured projects span multiple countries and seek to work towards cross-border trade. I have used the most prominent countries of operation of the projects in order to sort the list alphabetically. But I would like to make it clear that the efforts of go beyond the countries/ regions under which they are listed.

Please help me add to the following initial list of projects! I am sure that there are many other relevant and worthy projects, so please direct me towards the ones that you are aware of.

Quick links: International Food Price Sources, Africa, Asia-Pacific, East Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, West Africa, India,Caribbean.

International Food Price Sources

FoodNet was launched in 1999. It covers harvest and market research information in East and Central Africa.

National Basic Food Prices Data and Analysis Tool, an interactive database of staple food prices on national markets in 55 developing countries from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.

Quarterly reports from USAID’s famine early warning system network (FEWSNET).

Africa

East Africa

EASTAFA employs the well established method of selling fish via auction. Auctions are carried out online and can be initiated either by the buyers, or by the sellers.

LINKS is a project led at the Texas AM University. It collect information regarding market reports, livestock availability forecasts and food shortage trends in Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti, Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda. The project includes the development of a livestock early warning system. Its main goal is to monitor and improve food security.

RATIN aims to supply traders with improved early warning marketing and trade information that would lead to more efficient and competitive transactions in food trade between surplus and deficit regions in East Africa. Small and medium scale cross-border traders account for over 80 percent of regional trade in maize, beans and rice in East Africa. Consequently, they are the main target group of the RATIN information.

Ghana

Tradenet is an Internet application that enables you to provide market information via the web, email and SMS quickly and affordably. The application has been designed and developed by an international team based in Accra, Ghana. Information and services provided includes prices, news stories, a contacts database and forex rates. Currently, TradeNet is being rebranded as Esoko and supported by Busylab. The Esoko mobile service solution is aimed at combining “mobile reach with web power to grow” the services of small and large businesses, associations and groups, research and government groups. Details of the Esoko solution and its use towards m-powerment can be found here.

Kenya

Rural farmers in central Kenya have been piloting a project, called DrumNet, which provides marketing, financial services and information via their mobile phones. The premise of the Pride Africa project is that a lack of market information is one of the key elements that keeps farmers from getting the full market value for their products.

This Kenyan commercial website aims to promote urban and rural individuals by offering them free internet advertising in Kenya. Mobile users can list their business or personal needs to the site. Gikomba aims to become a pioneer for SMS advertising in Kenya.

KACE is a private sector firm launched in 1997 to facilitate linkage between sellers and buyers of agricultural commodities, provide relevant and timely marketing information and intelligence, provide a transparent and competitive market price discovery mechanism and harness and apply information and communication technologies (ICTs) for rural value addition and empowerment. KACE allows farmers with mobile phones to check latest commodity prices, and see who is buying what (and at what price).

Farmers can request market prices and make trades via SMS. Conversely, markets and restaurants can use the same service to find and purchase goods from farmers at bid pricing. Overall, this brings buyers to sellers in a less expensive way than posting on the Internet.

M4G started out as a project of OneWorld and now provides an independent Kenyan mobile service called Kazi560. The project uses mobile phone technology to help alleviate poverty and improve the lives of people in the developing world. It delivers vital employment opportunities content via SMS on mobile phones in order to inform and empower disadvantaged individuals. The job brokering service, has been particularly successful, with over 30,000 subscribers (as of February 2006) and figures showing that in 2005, over 13,000 jobs in Kenya were filled by people who received job information through the service.

Agri-ProFocus (APF) is a partnership of 29 Dutch donor agencies, credit institutions, training and knowledge institutions and companies, established in 2005. It supports agricultural producer organisations in developing countries and promotes farmer entrepreneurship through cooperation, exchange and learning. Agri-ProFocus offers an online platform to help with exchange of market price information and communication within producers’ networks. In Kenya, Agri-ProFocus provides an online platform in order to enable continuous learning and the identification of emerging issues in farmering entrepreneurship.

Manobi started of as a wireless e-service assisting Senegalese fishermen in the marketing of their catch. The Manobi Development Foundation has a much wider remit and operates in the US, France, Senegal and South Africa. Generally, the service allows traders to receive market prices and make trades via SMS. Consumers and restaurants are encouraged to use the service to find and purchase goods from farmers at bid pricing.

Nigeria

Uganda

Agri-ProFocus (APF) is a partnership of 29 Dutch donor agencies, credit institutions, training and knowledge institutions and companies, established in 2005. It supports agricultural producer organisations in developing countries and promotes farmer entrepreneurship through cooperation, exchange and learning. Agri-ProFocus offers an online platform to help with exchange of market price information and communication within producers’ networks. In Uganda Agri-ProFocus is working towards the identification of synergies among market information systems and collaborating towards the harmonization of content.

CELAC is a project of BROSDI (Busoga Rural Open Source and Development Initiative) aiming at use of ICT methods and knowledge-sharing to enhance poverty reduction and food security. CELAC operates in all the four regions in Uganda. The CELAC Project seeks to collect and exchange this local agricultural content that works from the farmers. It is common knowledge that the vast compiled agricultural content is for the literate, technologically advanced and economically privileged, leaving the farmers with little to salvage in terms of knowledge. CELAC utilises mobile and SMS technologies, among others, to desiminate its agricultural information.

A service introduced by Google for the purposes of trading any type of goods via SMS in Uganda. The service is complemented by Google SMS Tips which is geared towards providing access to advisory information.

Business service owned by FIT Uganda Limited. The website offers commodity price updates, analytical reports, commodity description and write-ups, commodity trading option, SMS interaction and communication, linkages between buyers and sellers, retail price watch [fuel prices, supermarket basic foods, hardware and telephone tariffs].

West Africa

Francophone service dedicated to information and communication regarding commodities and raw materials on the African continent, including North Africa and the Indian Ocean. CommodAfrica is active in Bénin, Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Morocco, Niger, Sénégal.

USAID-funded support to the Regional Market Information Systems and Traders’ Organizations project (MISTOWA) which ended in September 2007. MISTOWA was an USAID-initiated project to increase regional agricultural trade and food security in West Africa by improving and linking the existing regional efforts to generate, disseminate, and make commercial use of market information. MISTOWA targeted all 15 ECOWAS member countries but activities were carried out primarily in Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Benin, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire and Niger. Key partners in Guinea, The Gambia, and Sierra Leone were also involved. It gave rise to the platform Tradenet mentioned in the list above.

The Trade at Hand (TAH) initiative is hosted by the International Trade Centre (ITC). ITC is UNCTAD-WTO organization which aims at promoting “Export for good”. So far TAH has two modules: MarketPrices and MarketAlerts. MarketPrices uses text messages in order to inform exporters in developing economies about the daily changes in the international price of their export of interest. A module called MarketAlerts enables local trade support institutions to build more efficient networks of exporters by transmitting information tbuo them about business opportunities and market news. In this way, exporters have access to targeted information in their sector, enabling them to react to demand, plan export volumes and negotiate fair prices. Trade at Hand was launched with fruit and vegetable exporters in two landlocked sub-Saharan African countries, Burkina Faso and Mali, in 2006.

WAMIS-NET is a network of market information systems from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Niger, Mali, Senegal, Togo and Nigeria. Together they provide to all stakeholders up to date and accurate information on 400 rural and urban agricultural commodity markets via different media, including SMS. The network monitors the development of the agricultural sector through the collection and publication of related statistics and analytical reports.

Price information service by the Zambian National Farmers Union (ZNFU), collecting prices for livestock commodities (beef, goats, pigs and sheep) and crop commodities (beans, cassava, ground nuts, honey, maize, rice, sorghum, soybeans, sunflower and wheat). Prices can be accessed using SMS or can be found on the website.

Asia-Pacific

CellBazaar is a service from Grameenphone that allows people to buy or sell over their mobile phones. Customers looking to sell something, post the information on CellBazaar through Grameenphone, and buyers get in contact. Customers looking to buy something, or to use someone’s services (e.g., tutor), look for it on CellBazaar and contact the seller directly. When buyers sees items they like, they can call the seller, get additional information, and arrange to meet the seller to complete the transaction. CellBazaar is a platform for buyers and sellers to find each other.

The Cambodia Crop Production and Marketing Project (CCPMP) has the overarching aim of improving agricultural value chains as a key to sustainable growth and poverty reduction in Western Cambodia. Using mobile technology, the project facilitates the sharing of knowledge and information at all stages of the value chain from farmer to end-user, delivering practical benefits including improved food security, increased income, and reduced vulnerability to disruptions for rural poor farmers.

India

Detailed price information on products and commodities.

Market information service by the Indian government.

ITC’s Agri Business Division (ITC-ABD), one of India’s largest exporters of agricultural commodities, has conceived e-Choupal as a more efficient supply chain aimed at delivering value to its customers around the world on a sustainable basis.

  • IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Limited (IKSL), India
  • An initiative between the fertiliser provider IFFCO and the mobile operator Bharti Airtel to deliver useful information to farmers.

The service is distributed via Nokia Life Tools, which has undergone beta testing and is to be deployed in the first half of 2009.

The original Warana project was launched in 1998. It was funded by the Indian government and the Warana Coperative in Maharashtra. The project established 54 Internet kiosks and sought to provide access to market information for 40 000 farmers across the region. Given the high running costs of the project and its marginal benefits, efforts have been made towards intorducing the use of mobile phones for the delivery of market information.

AgroInformAsia provides the Agricultural Information Marketing System (AIMS) for Kyrgystan. AIMS is a recently implemented agricultural information system directed towards producers, processors, sellers and agricultural goods suppliers. AIMS is seeking to carry information about:

 

  • Type and volume of local agricultural produce
  • Ask prices of the supppliers of 20 different kinds of agricultural produce
  • Prices and volumes of processed agricultural produce
  • Demand prices and volumes of raw and processed agricultural produce
  • Fodder for animals and veterinary services
  • Representatives of agricultural consulting companies and training courses
  • Commercial agents engaged in procuring agricultural produce on farms.

    Kalimati Fruits and Vegetable Market is the pioneer organized terminal wholesale market where retailers, institutional consumers and other bulk consumer procure their supplies of commodities. Kalimati Fruits and Vegetable Wholesale Market was set up in order to give an organized form to the marketing of agricultural produce, especially vegetables and fruit products, in the Kathmandu valley.

    B2Bpricenow.com is an electronic marketplace originally conceived as a venue where farmers could market and trade their products more efficiently and at the most competitive prices. The idea was developed in the Philippines, where farmers, located around 7,100 islands, have difficulty in getting reliable information on price, and supply and demand issues. By providing relevant market and price information, the site enables the seller to benefit from greater negotiating leverage resulting from awareness of prevailing market prices for their product. In addition, the buyer is able to benefit from opportunities to screen for the lowest costs and the best selection. I reviewed B2BPricenow in more detail for my article presented at the IST-Africa 2007 conference.

    A project whose name means “Farmer Knowledge Service” and is realised by LIRNEasia. The efforts involve the collection of market prices of fruit vegetables by walking ennumerators at the Dambulla wholesale market. The prices are publicised via a blackboard at the market and via a Web page.

  • Caribbean

    A project by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries aimed at establishing the first electronic market information system focused at the collection and publication of weekly prices at the farmgate, at municipal markets, at retail, and wholesale. The primary function of the JAMIS is to compile and disseminate information in aid of producers, purchasers, consumers, and distributors of agricultural commodities nationally and internationally.

    NAMIS provides timely market information and intelligence in order to stimulate and promote investment in the agricultural sector in Trinidad and Tobago. The system caters to the information needs of key players in the agri-food sector including producers, exporters, importers, supermarkets, agro-processors, hotels, restaurants and policy makers.


    3 Responses to “Market Information Systems”

    1. [...] The inventory features currently existing projects, or projects in the design phase and intended for implementation in Africa. The reference it provides is extensive and includes projects concerning voice information delivery services, dial-up and reglar radio broadcasts, video learning and e-learning for basic skills and farming. The collection dedicates a whole section on “Extension Services Based on Mobile Phone and Database Monitoring.”  That section covers many of the projects pursuing the implementation of mobile markets in African countries and listed in the section ICT4D Projects. [...]

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    3. [...] collection, increase accessibility, and even promote interactivity among users.  Mira Slavova’s MMD4D blog has a comprehensive list of these systems, along with brief summaries of their [...]

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