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Providing market information to small farmers in Madagascar. Challenging ICTs suitability

Andriandralambo N., David-Benz H., Rahelizatovo N.. 2017. s.l., 16 p.. Journées de Recherche en Sciences Sociales (JRSS). 11, 2017-12-14/2017-12-15, Lyon (France).

Market Information Systems (MIS) have massively adopt ICTs since the 2000s, in order to improve agricultural markets performances providing a better access to information. However, their effective use by farmers remains marginal. How far is information dissemination via ICTs adapted to the context and the needs of small farmers in developing countries? Two main Malagasy MIS, on rice and vegetable, have recently adopt mobile phone and radio to disseminate price information. A few months after the introduction of these new technologies, first feedbacks from the recipients were collected. Results highlight that the level of farmers' access to market and to information differs according to the crop, the livelihood assets and the degree of remoteness. Most farmers who have received the information acknowledge the interest of getting updated prices via SMS. They are rather confident about the quality of the data and are even ready to pay for it in the future. However, the main constraints are: (i) rapid ¿disappearance¿ of the recipients due to changes in phone numbers or a loss of the phone itself, (ii) technical constraints such as difficulties to refill the battery and/or poor phone network and radio coverage, (iii) cognitive limits of the farmers, with low level of education and limited practice of SMS. The role of an informational ¿mediator¿ (farmer leader, field staff), as well as more comprehensive knowledge on market situation transmitted through complementary communication tools appear fundamental to enhance the farmers' ability to take advantage of the dissemination of information by SMS.

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