GSMA launches mFarmer Initiative Fund

The GSMA announced the launch of the mFarmer Initiative
Fund, supported by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The
Fund will encourage mobile communications service providers, in partnership
with other public and private sector agriculture organisations, to use mobile
communications to provide information and advisory services to smallholder
farmers in developing countries living on under $2 per day. 

The mFarmer Initiative Fund, which is part of the GSMA’s
Mobile Agriculture (mAgri) Programme, will be available over a period of two
years. GSMA made the annoucement at the inaugural mAgri Working Group in Cape

“There are over 2.3 billion people living on less
than $2 day, a large number of whom are rural smallholder farmers in developing
countries and who face many issues which inhibit their agricultural
productivity and limit their incomes. Through the mFarmer Initiative Fund, the
GSMA Development
Fund’s mAgri Programme will accelerate the provision of high-quality
agricultural information services through mobile and by 2013 we aim to provide
two million farmers in developing countries with an invaluable and
transformative business resource,” said Chris Locke, executive director, GSMA
Development Fund.

The GSMA Development Fund accelerates economic,
environmental and social evolution through mobile technology. Within the
Development Fund, the mAgri Programme exists to catalyse the deployment of
mobile solutions benefiting the agriculture sector. To date, focus has been on
engagement with mobile operators and their partners to prove the market
opportunity of agricultural extension services through mobile to smallholder
farmers and to understand which business models are most suitable.

Mobile technology offers new, cost-effective and scalable
solutions to address these challenges. In developing countries, access to mobile
phones is growing dramatically even amongst those at the base of the economic
pyramid, providing a new and powerful channel of communication and the ability
to link previously excluded rural communities to up to date information.

By Team
[email protected]