Agricultural Marketing Information Systems in Africa Essay

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1. Briefly discuss an agricultural marketing information system using figure 4.1 as a guide.

Agricultural marketing information system in the information system used in gathering, analyzing and disseminating information about prices and other information relevant to farmers, animal rearers, traders, processors and others involved in handling agricultural products. Market information systems play an important role in agro-industrialization and food supply chains.

2. How might the South African system be seen as an effort at increasing market accessibility and competitive advantage?

The new system was designed to enable producers to best satisfy consumer demands, assist them in making deals with international brokers and distributors, and at the same time make a profit. In doing so, they had exposed agriculture to the vagaries and demands of the global system of trade. The policy had been designed to make it easier for producers to export a range of products, offer greater market access and at the same time encourage farmers to expand their operations. The marketing information system was an effort to increase market accessibility and gain competitive advantages at the international markets.

3. Assess the suitability of the Esoko system for Africa.

Studies carried out to assess the impact of Esoko services revealed real improvements in farmer incomes due to services such as Esoko price alerts. This investment not only offers high social impact for small holder farmers, but in the longer-term, the platform has the potential to impact the information dissemination and overall efficiency of agricultural value chains in Sub-Saharan Africa. For instance, it help solve information asymmetry or shortcomings and integrates smallholder farmers into the formal value chain by providing a robust communications infrastructure that allows smallholder farmers to be reached quickly and served inexpensively through mobile phones, a medium that is everywhere and easy-to-use. The platform enables multiple stakeholders in the value chain to push critical information to small-holder farmers such as market prices, agronomic and training tips, while also providing the ability to survey farmers to understand their needs and desires.

4. Briefly discuss whether South Africa should have develop a system like Esoko rather than opting for a web-based solution.

A web based solution is a complex answer to a problem that could simply addressed by solutions that could easily be grasp by the farmers and the producers as well. Given that according to studies only 17% of the South African population have accessed to the internet. We could not also deny that South Africa have a low literacy rate. This also imply that the use of computers and internet would not that easy as expected for the farmers. On the other hand, system like Esoko can be easily digested. It is a simple connection for the farmer and producers that could be easily spread through the continent. Only the need of a simple mobile phone and a subscription for the case of Esoko.

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