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Socio-Economic Impact of Mobile Phones on Indian Agriculture

  • Surabhi Mittal

    (Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations)

  • Sanjay Gandhi
  • Gaurav Tripathi

Deficits in physical infrastructure, problems with availability of agricultural inputs and poor access to agriculture-related information are the major constraints on the growth of agricultural productivity in India. The more rapid growth of mobile telephony as compared to fixed line telephony and the recent introduction of mobile- enabled information services provide a means to overcome existing information asymmetry. It also helps, at least partially, to bridge the gap between the availability and delivery of agricultural inputs and agriculture infrastructure. This paper investigates a series of questions that explore this topic : What kind of information do farmers value the most to improve agricultural productivity? Do mobile phones and mobile-enabled agricultural services have an impact on agriculture? What are the factors that impede the realisation of the full productivity enhancing potential of mobile phones? The answers to these questions have important implications for mobile operators, for information service providers, and for policy- makers. The quality of information, its timeliness and trustworthiness are the three important features that have to be ensured to enable farmers to use it effectively to improve productivity. The study found evidence that mobiles are being used in ways which contribute to productivity enhancement. However, to leverage the full potential of information dissemination enabled by mobile telephony will require significant improvements in supporting infrastructure and capacity building amongst farmers to enable them to use the information they access effectively. As mobile penetration continues to increase among farming communities and information services continue to adapt and proliferate, the scope exists for a much greater rural productivity impact in the future.

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File URL: http://www.eaber.org/node/23031
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Paper provided by East Asian Bureau of Economic Research in its series Development Economics Working Papers with number 23031.

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Date of creation: Jan 2010
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Handle: RePEc:eab:develo:23031
Contact details of provider: Postal: JG Crawford Building #13, Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, Australian National University, ACT 0200
Web page: http://www.eaber.org

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  1. Muto, Megumi & Yamano, Takashi, 2009. "The Impact of Mobile Phone Coverage Expansion on Market Participation: Panel Data Evidence from Uganda," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 1887-1896, December.
  2. Reuben Abraham, 2007. "Mobile Phones and Economic Development: Evidence From the Fishing Industry in India," Information Technologies and International Development, MIT Press, vol. 4(1), pages 5-17, October.
  3. Fan, Shenggen & Hazell, P. B. R. & Thorat, Sukhadeo, 1999. "Linkages between government spending, growth, and poverty in rural India:," Research reports 110, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  4. Kumar, Praduman & Mittal, Surabhi, 2006. "Agricultural Productivity Trends in India: Sustainability Issues," Agricultural Economics Research Review, Agricultural Economics Research Association (India), vol. 19(2006).
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