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mAgri Programme Overview

The GSMA’s mAgri Programme catalyses scalable, commercial mobile services that improve the productivity and incomes of smallholder farmers and benefit the agriculture sector in emerging markets.

The mAgri Programme works with mobile operators, the development community and agricultural organisations to enhance the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in emerging markets by improving their access to information, financial services and supply chain solutions, delivered via mobile through sustainable business models.

We provide challenge fund grants, technical assistance, sharing of best practices and support on monitoring and evaluation to selected mobile agriculture projects and services.We also work with mobile service providers, agricultural organisations and the development community to provide supporting tools and share best practices in developing and taking mobile agriculture solutions to market. We help practitioners to identify partners and broker relationship between service owners, mobile operators, content providers and agricultural organisations.

Modern challenges for agriculture

Over 2.3 billion people in the world live in poverty and depend on smallholder farms for their livelihoods. Many of the 500 million underserved, smallholder farmers worldwide lack access to relevant, timely information such as planting techniques, crop management and pesticide use, weather forecasts, leaving them vulnerable to factors such as harsh weather conditions and pests and diseases, which can destroy their crops and harm their livestock.

Smallholders’ progress is further hampered by lack of access to affordable finance and supply chain inefficiencies. Smallholder farmers in the developing world are mostly unbanked and reliant on cash for payments, which results in high transactional costs when accessing financial services, making it difficult for them to invest in their farms.

Addressing the challenges of these farmers is important not only for their own livelihoods and quality of life, but also for addressing the growing undernourishment problem in developing countries. FAO has estimated that the number of undernourished people in Sub-Saharan Africa has grown from 175 million to 239 million in the last 20 years, with 20 million added in the last 2 years. The problem is expected to worsen due to increases in global food demand and food prices, scarcity of resources and climate change.

The mAgri Opportunity

As mobile phone penetration in the developing world now exceeds 70% and is continuing to grow rapidly, the mobile channel enables a level of scale and outreach that was not possible with traditional initiatives reaching farmers with face-to-face training and extension services.

Future mobile subscriber growth will be driven by demand among currently ‘unconnected’ populations in developing countries, particularly those in rural areas, which GSMA research estimates to be 1.8 billion people throughout the next five years.

The GSMA mAgri Programme is in a unique position to bring together mobile operators, the agricultural organisations and the development community to foster sustainable and scalable mobile services that improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers.

What we do

Since its inception the mAgri Programme has directly supported 6 projects across Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia:

  • India: IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Limited (IKSL) and mKisan (service provided by Handygo)
  • Kenya: M-Kilimo (pilot project with KenCall) and Airtel Kilimo
  • Tanzania: Tigo Kilimo
  • Mali: Senekela (service provided by Orange)

Lessons from the projects are available on our website under Resources.

In February 2014, we are opening the next round of funding for mobile agriculture projects.

Working with us

Mobile Operators:
We provide mobile operators with relevant tools, forums, and information to identify opportunities and implement mAgri services.

Development Community and Agricultural Organisations:We help the development community understand and partner with our mobile operator members to leverage mobile to deliver agricultural services sustainably, efficiently and at scale. We also develop tools and frameworks to measure the impact of mobile services on farmers. We help agricultural organisations understand, partner with and leverage the mobile channel.

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