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Exploring linkages between ICT use and social capital in agricultural marketing

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The study examines how intermediaries in the African agriculture sector use information and communication technologies (ICTs) to facilitate networking, coordination, and information exchange in markets, and how this affects their social network capital (SNC). The survey of 1571 extension agents, output dealers and input dealers in Ghana, Kenya, Mali, and Nigeria found that all intermediaries use ICTs to varying degrees to facilitate bonding and bridging capital with different actors. The study shows that easier sharing of information about prices and potential trading partners is the main SNC-related benefit in marketing, and ICTs are generally perceived to be more useful in facilitating existing rather than increasing marketing networks. Digital marketing platforms should leverage intermediaries’ digital skills, technological capacities, and digitally enabled networks to improve service delivery and reach producers in the last mile.