Structured Trade and ICTs - MIS

Organised by: CTA

Market information has repeatedly been proven to be of great importance in creating a more level playing field in the agricultural sector, and to enable better decisions in policy, investment and marketing. Unfortunately, Market Information Systems (MIS) have generally not managed to capture sufficient share of these positive returns to become sustainable. MIS projects thus have a rather chequered history, with most struggling to show viability once external funding stops. However, new ICT developments are making it possible for MIS ventures to develop new business models and build more sustainable operations. Looking at case studies, this session will discuss how innovative ICTs can help MIS to improve their efficiency and under which conditions MIS in agriculture can become self-sustaining.

Nov 5, 13:30 - 15:00
Room: Kivu
Stream: Emerging Innovations

Sessions Chair

Chair of the session is Vincent Fautrel
Senior Programme Coordinator, Agricultural Trade and Value Chain Development, CTA

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Trade at hand

ITC's mission is to foster sustainable economic development and contribute to achieving the Millennium Development Goals in developing countries and countries with economies in transition through trade and international business development.

The objective of Trade at Hand, an ITC programme, is to enable exporters from developing economies to make innovative use of mobile phones. The service began by serving exporters of agricultural products and has since expanded to other sectors, as well.

The programme is based on a clear and long-term strategy that includes:

  1. Providing appropriate and sustainable mobile-based information and communication technologies to build capacities of beneficiaries and enhance their business competitiveness;
  2. Setting up and maintaining a sustainable business model, a knowledge centre and solution platform, in order to facilitate replication, provide hosting and respond to the related assistance needs of beneficiaries;
  3. Establishing partnerships with relevant public and private organizations to fuel the first two strategy points and increase ITC’s impact in the field; and
  4. Maintaining constant research and development activity to continue offering appropriate solutions to beneficiaries, including by capturing the beneficiary network experience and sharing lessons learned.

The session at "ict4ag 2013" will be the opportunity to share lessons learned and present the ongoing project in Kenya, which supports the Kenya Agricultural Commodity Exchange (KACE) to deploy a mobile business matching solution called Soko Hewani (Swahili for "supermarket on air").


Raphaël Dard

Adviser, E-business - Mobile Solutions, ITC

ICTs and MIS

Organization : World Bank

The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programs. The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty. Established in 1944, the World Bank Group is headquartered in Washington, D.C. We have more than 10,000 employees in more than 120 offices worldwide.

The World Bank Group has set two goals for the world to achieve by 2030:

End extreme poverty by decreasing the percentage of people living on less than $1.25 a day to no more than 3%
Promote shared prosperity by fostering the income growth of the bottom 40% for every country
The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. We are not a bank in the ordinary sense but a unique partnership to reduce poverty and support development. The World Bank Group comprises five institutions managed by their member countries.



Aparajita Goyal

Economist, Agricultural and Environment Services

Connecting markets through Esoko mobile innovations

Esoko has evolved over the last seven years based on numerous interventions across 15 countries in Africa. It is the only scalable Agric Mobile ICT platform that is already generating significant revenues and is already in multiple markets. Our model is to provide a series of solutions to help multiple actors within the value chain. The smallholder farmer can join a national or private club to get weather, agricultural tips, buy/sell offers and market prices all by SMS, Voice, USSD or Call centre. In addition, and to complement the direct2consumer clubs, Esoko offers agri-businesses a range of tools that can allow them to manage their information needs in a simple and powerful way. This includes android surveys, sms polls, extension apps, client profiling and more. The Esoko proposal will sketch out the business model behind such a holistic approach, and the market drivers that have shaped the development of the product and services. Esoko will also present how it intends to reach scale across the continent through a certified reseller program. There will be a live demo of the platform. Topics for discussion will include the pros and cons of a single app vs. a broader platform approach; sustainability strategies; deployment lessons and the role of the mobile operators.

Organization : Esoko

Based in Mauritius and Ghana, Esoko is a private business, focussed on changing the way markets work through innovative mobile solutions. We were established in 2005 simply to collect and distribute market prices via SMS, and over the years the team and business has evolved.

Esoko is a technology platform and consulting service that helps organizations profile people and manage the information flows between them. Our focus is on agricultural value chains with the explicit goal of improving the transparency of markets and the operational efficiency of organizations. We believe mobile phones provide an unprecedented and disruptive opportunity to change how markets work for both businesses and consumers.


Mark Davies

Chief Executive Officer, Esoko

The role of mobile phone SMS solutions in promoting agribusiness among small-scale farmers in rural parts of Zambia

I wish to share my experience as an end user and extension agent on how mobile phone solutions (SMS platforms) have facilitated agribusiness among small-scale farmers in a rural part of Zambia. About 60% of the population in Zambia lives in rural areas and relies on agriculture for their livelihood. Generally Zambian small-scale farmers have the ability to produce food and breed quality herds. However, they are not guaranteed of the market for their produce. In Zambia, the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) SMS market/trade information system is helping farmers in rural areas to search for market for their produce at better prices within their regions. This came at a right time as government is no longer buying all crops and livestock from farmers especially following the removal of subsidies on maize marketing. The SMS platform has proved useful in tracing production of agricultural commodities, agri-food processors and markets within Zambia.


Stephen Tembo

District Veterinary Officer, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, Zambia

Le service N’KALO ou l’intégration des petits agriculteurs au marché mondial via les TIC

RONGEAD est une organisation à but non lucratif qui favorise l'accès au marché pour les petits producteurs en Afrique.  Depuis 2009, le service d’information NKALO s’appuie sur l’expertise de RONGEAD et la connaissance du terrain pour fournir les outils pour améliorer la gestion de la commercialisation des produits agricoles. Nous procédons à partir de données brutes pour aboutir à une information à haute valeur ajoutée. Permettant ainsi de stabiliser les revenus des acteurs des filières agricoles (producteurs, transformateurs, consommateurs) qui font face à un marché volatil et difficilement appréhendable. La diffusion du contenu se fait essentiellement via les réseaux GSM, l’internet et les moyens audio-visuels de proximité (radios locales,…) Afin d’atteindre un plus grand nombre d’acteurs, nous multiplions les moyens d’accès à l’information: envois de SMS sur mobiles, Serveur Vocal Interactif, Serveur USSD (en développement), bulletins d’informations (numérique et papier), spots radio, affichages.  Nous ne diffusons pas simplement les  prix collectés, mais ajoutons aussi des éléments de compréhension du marché, car la volatilité des prix sur le marché mondial est en hausse et de nouvelles approches pour le support aux petits agriculteurs doivent être conçues, d’où l’utilité des nouveaux médias.  Notre expérience illustre un cas concret de l'utilisation des TIC (mobile, internet) pour le développement. La principale innovation fournie par les TIC est la réduction du délai entre la collecte et la diffusion, ce qui permet de donner une meilleure crédibilité aux informations. En outre, nous veillons à ce que les TIC soient accompagnés d'une équipe locale d'experts pour aider les producteurs à prendre leur propre et meilleure décision. Le Système est opérationnel en Côte d’Ivoire (1200 abonnés) et au Burkina Faso(2294 abonnés) pour la filière de la noix de cajou (anacarde). Cependant, une extension à d’autres filières (sésame et karité) et dans d’autres pays est en cours d’étude.


Serge Kedja

Project Coordinator - ITC project / agricultural chains, RONGEAD