Sri Lanka looks to mobile phones to improve farmer livelihoods

Nov 12, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s information technology agency aims to deploy more widely a web-based crop price tracker and use mobile phones to help farmers improve production and marketing, an official said. Chitranganie Mubarak, Senior Programme Head – e-Society, of the Information Communications Technology Agency (ICTA), said the project is part of the agency’s ‘e-Society programme’ which aims to take the benefits of ICT to all sections of society.

The e-Society programme is being done in partnership with other organisations like the Agriculture Department and the CIC agri-business firm.

“We’re looking at 70 percent of our population in rural areas, many of them small farmers, who make up the bottom rung of the agri-business ladder of integration,” Mubarak said at a public forum.

ICT includes the mobile phone which can play a major role in improving the livelihoods of rural people.

The forum was organised by the Pathfinder Foundation under its ‘Sanvada’ (dialogue) programme to focus on policy recommendations for enhancing productivity and competitiveness of agribusiness.

“ICT can impact on a whole gamut of areas – it can give access to timely information on pests and disease and sa