Use of mobile phone technology in agricultural marketing: The case of smallholder farmers in Malawi
Katengeza, Samson P
Okello, Julius Juma
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The mobile phone technology is an important tool to enhance farmers’ access to better paying agricultural markets. The study reports the results of a household study in Mwanza, Dedza and Mzimba Districts of Malawi. The study assesses drivers of adoption of mobile phone technology for agricultural marketing by smallholder farmers. The study used regression techniques to identify drivers and extent of mobile phone use. Results show that use is positively affected by literacy, distance to local market, land size, current value of assets, crop income, and region variations but negatively influenced by access to electricity. Intensity of use is conditioned by gender, participation in agricultural projects, ownership of a mobile phone, current asset value, distance to nearest public phone services, and region variations. Asset endowment plays a critical role in enhancing adoption of mobile phone technology. Gender disparities significantly affect adoption as most women have limited access to assets. The study suggests the need to improve farmers’ access to mobile phones for agricultural marketing. It recommends that government, in collaboration with mobile network operators, should reduce calling tariffs to enhance use, gender disparities in accessing assets should be minimised, and investment in supporting infrastructure must be enhanced.