Afghan Farmers to Get Farm Produce Pricing by Mobile Phone
Published on: 7th Sep 2010
Note -- this news article is more than a year old.
Afghan mobile network Roshan has launched a mobile service branded as Malomat that provides pricing information to farmers and distributors to assist in buying and selling goods at fair rates. The service has been set up with assistance from USAID and the Global Development Alliance (GDA).
Malomat will initially cover 11 provincial wholesale markets using mobile phones with Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology and SSMS. Once developed further, the project will expand to other provinces and incorporate additional commodities, with a focus on reaching rural communities in remote areas of the country.
"Malomat provides farmers with access to real-time market prices, helping to ensure that farmers are able to secure the highest value possible for their crops while promoting commerce, the lifeblood of the nation's economy. Mobile technology is playing a significant role in enabling marginalized communities to engage in everyday commerce as a vehicle for sustainable growth. Services such as Malomat demonstrate Roshan's commitment to socio-economic development by leveraging its technology, human capital and emerging market expertise to bring innovative services and products to Afghanistan," said Karim Khoja, chief executive officer of Roshan.
The system gives anyone the ability to access price information, while 500 farmers and traders are participating in a pilot roll-out of the system in five provinces. Prices are updated daily for 25 commodities, including wheat, rice, cashmere, numerous fruits such as almonds and pomegranates, several types of vegetables, fertilizer, live chickens and eggs.
The Malomat initiative builds on two existing projects: one between GDA and Roshan (Trade Net), and another run by USAID's IDEA-NEW project. The new system combines lessons learned from both projects, and capitalizes on the strengths of each. The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) has also provided ongoing guidance and technical support to Malomat.
The commodity information is primarily envisioned as a tool for farmers to gain bargaining power at the farm gate, but will also give price visibility to traders, NGOs and others interested in following market price trends in Afghanistan. The system has the flexibility to add new commodities as demand warrants.