Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are increasingly accessible and affordable worldwide. This trend has raised high expectations regarding their potential to revolutionize smallholder agriculture by providing farmers with access to information, markets and financial services. Despite the increasing rates of mobile usage and investments in the development of these technologies, uptake of agriculture-specific ICT solutions has been low and few have scaled up to achieve profitability and significant quantifiable impacts. But the technological dream is still possible. ICTs can conceivably lead to large productivity improvements. Achieving their widespread use among smallholder farmers will require affordable solutions that are adjusted to the capacities of the users and their devices. At the same time, investments in more sophisticated ICT solutions higher up in the value chain can also benefit smallholder farmers.
This Policy Brief is draws on the study: Baumüller, H. (2018) The little we know: An exploratory literature review on the utility of mobile phone-enabled services for smallholder farmers, Journal of International Development 30(1): 134–154