Mobile applications (m-Apps) are pieces of software on portable devices (such as mobile phones, personal digital assistants, or tablets) that enable users to carry out one or more specific tasks that are not directly related to the operation of the device itself. Access to mobile networks and ownership of mobile devices by value chain actors has grown exponentially in ACP countries. However the use of best suited m-Apps in the agricultural and rural development sector is still in its infancy and offers great opportunities for rapid adoption provided awareness is raised and enabling conditions are established. CTA’s experiences in supporting the adoption and institutionalisation of Web 2.0 and social media via a low-cost business model, has been adopted to support the widespread uptake of m-apps for agriculture.
Progress to date
In 2015, two m-Apps were selected as proof of concept for the Apps4Ag Learning Opportunities:
Farmerline, a Ghanaian social enterprise that provides mobile services to improve the livelihoods of rural farmers through communicating timely and relevant agricultural information (weather alerts, best farming practices, financial tips and market prices) through voice and SMS messages directly to the mobile phones of farmers.
Mobile Banking Information Software (MOBIS) through Mercy Corps, Uganda is a core banking and information platform that seeks increased access and efficiency to financial services and information to both the rural financial institutions and farmers (2015).