Mobile Edge

April 04, 2012 (LBO) – A mobile phone ranking system is being developed to help Sri Lankan pineapple farmers identify suppliers of good quality planting material and avoid buying diseased plants that could destroy entire crops. The initiative is part of efforts to make more use of information and communication technology like mobile phones to improve livelihoods and incomes of farmers being studied by LIRNEasia, a thin tank.

It looked at how smallholders could be better integrated into agricultural value chains, reducing their transaction costs and structural barriers that limit efficiency.

Farmers face difficulties in getting good planning material, either seeds or plants, said Nilusha Kapugama, research manager at LIRNEasia, which studied agriculture supply chains from Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka.

Farmers also lack knowledge on access to post-harvest facilities like warehousing and cold storage, she told a news conference in Bangkok where their findings were presented .

In Sri Lanka pineapple is grown through small saplings or plants obtained from existing cultivation.

“Sometimes you have diseased plants in the market for purchasing and new cultivators sometimes are unable to figu