Information sources, ICTs and price information in rural agricultural markets (Giacomo Zanello and C. S. Srinivasan)
The spread and rapid uptake of mobile telephony in Sub-Saharan Africa has highlighted the potential role of ICTs in improving market participation and welfare outcomes for farm producers in agricultural produce markets. This paper explores the influence of different sources of information and transmission technologies on the quantum and reliability of market information flowing to farm producers, based on a survey of farm households in northern Ghana. Our results suggest that the principal role of radio broadcasts and mobile telephony is in providing a broader knowledge of markets by enhancing the quantum of market information flowing to farm producers. They do not, however, appear to have a significant impact on the quality/reliability of price information obtained by farmers for making marketing decisions. Information sources appear to be the chief determinant of the reliability of price information, with price information obtained from extension agents being the most credible. Our results provide some useful insights for the design and implementation of Market Information Systems aimed at encouraging market participation by rural farm producers in agricultural markets.