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Sri Lanka farmers connect to markets on mobile phones

Nov 27, 2009 (LBO) - A trial Sri Lankan commodity trade matching portal using mobile phones to improve marketing of farmer produce will need private sector investment to be sustainable, an official said. Chitranganie Mubarak, a Senior Programme Head of the Information Communications Technology Agency (ICTA), said the project is part of efforts to use mobile phone and information technology to link farmers with markets.
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A high proportion of farm produce in the island goes waste owing to poor post-harvest processing as well as marketing links.

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Mubarak said the trial service, at present free for farmers, uses SMS (short message service) to enable farmers to link up with buyers.

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Buyers and sellers must register on the SMS-enabled commodity trade matching portal.

"The system matches the farmer or seller with the buyers.

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Farmers can send an SMS with what they have to sell, giving their location.
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If a buyer also wants the same thing the portal will do the matching," Mubarak said.

The transaction is done off-line.

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The system is on trial in the hill country Nuwara Eliya district through Sarvodaya, a non-governmental organisation.

"You need only a simple mobile phone to send SM

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