Cyber Market

March 25, 2008 (LBO) – Greater use of information technology in Sri Lanka’s largely subsistence agriculture sector will help both farmers and consumers alike by reducing costs, a researcher has said. Harsha De Silva, lead economist at LIRNEasia, a think tank, said a system using IT that addresses the information needs from the decision making phase through the growth and sale of agricultural products will help balance the welfare of both consumers and farmers.

“ICT (information and communications technology) can be used to reduce the information and observable transaction costs to create efficiencies in agricultural markets,” de Silva said.

“And if we can create efficiencies in agricultural markets, we can create welfare on both sides of the equation,” he told a recent seminar on the role of ICT in agriculture.

“The core will definitely have to be a system that marries the decision-making and selling and that is where ICT will take agriculture markets from this point on and that is where we see some variants of commodity exchanges developing.”

Useful but costly information is unavailable to farmers during their agricultural cycle.

Sri Lanka had mainly focused on the selling s