Economic growth and poverty reduction cannot solely be achieved through land productivity and food production but performance of the local market plays a decisive role in enhancing development. In order to support the poorest households it is necessary to improve infrastructure and performance of market institutions.

Additionally it is important to create opportunities for small-holders to access markets where they can sell their products in reasonable volumes and standards, provide inputs and credits, and provide economies of scale as well as bargaining power.

This is possible through new market information systems and services based on communication technologies (ICTs) such as internet and mobile phones which create opportunities to reduce the cost of linking buyers and sellers within the value chain, and thus raising farm income and reducing poverty.

Improving information flow in commodity value chains

FoodAfrica Programme’s sixth Work Package will improve the flow of information in value chains of at least two commodities with the implementation of market information systems. The Work Package will use randomized control trial (RCT) approach and difference-in-difference methods to collect and analyze data in Uganda and Ghana.

For farmers’ it’s important that information like weekly harvesting locations, current prices in the nearby cities, lowest transportation cost of the products, and information about consumer appreciation, is being processed and provided.

Capacity building at different levels will be built into the research by including different stakeholders at various stages. Also an inventory of the current market information systems will be conducted, including the needs of each major actor in the value chain involving farmers, traders, processors, and other actors of the process.

WP6 will also estimate the impacts of improvements in agricultural market information of the value chain, and indirectly of rural income and poverty in the African countries. This information would help to guide investment priorities for the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other development agents.