Howard Rheingold writes that small scale farmers in Africa are leveling the playing field through technology. Using mobile phones and messaging technology, farmers get access to valuable market data:
Markets aren’t only for the rich. Certain kinds of information, however, convey advantages to those have the right data at the right time.
Until recently, only the relatively wealthy had swift access to relevant market information. The cost of technologies that connect people with economically useful price data has declined steadily, however, from the tycoons of the early 20th century with their home ticker-tape machines to the day-traders of recent decades with their desktop PCs, and now, to farmers in developing countries who are beginning to own mobile phones.
With more than 320 million mobile subscribers in China already, and 150 million mobile phones among the 200 million phones projected for India (where mobile phone use already exceeds land line use) by 2007, the mobile phone looks like tomorrow’s most likely access device for agricultural market information.
Read the whole thing — it is an interesting article on a topic that is off-the-beaten track. Hat tip to Timbuktu Chronicles for the link.