Sri Lanka farmers get mobile phone trade service

Dec 23, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s top celco Dialog Telekom is offering a trading platform based on short message services (SMS) that can help farmers to sell their produce and create a forward market for agriculture produce, officials said. Phones that don’t have the unicode function will deliver SMS’s in ‘Singlish’, he said.

Singlish is messaging Sinhala words typed in English fonts used popularly in urban and some rural areas of the country as Sinhala and Tamil font messaging service are still not available.

Traders in Colombo can access prices via the internet in all three languages, Sameera said.

The service is somewhat similar to one launched by Reuters, a financial news services provider, for Indian farmers in 2007, called Reuter’s Market Light.

Ranjith Pawar of Reuter’s Market Light told delegates at a recent international telco forum organized by LIRNEasia in Colombo that after the service was offered farmer incomes had gone up by 40 percent.

This was because ‘wastage and middleman’ that eat into profits were nearly eliminated, he said.

Rohan Samarajiva, head of LIRNEasia, said some features that have been built into the system are not available in similar services.

“If the price hits a targ