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Socio-Economic Impact of Mobile Phones on Indian Agriculture


  • Surabhi Mittal


  • 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 mobileenabled 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 policymakers. 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Surabhi Mittal & Sanjay Gandhi & Gaurav Tripathi, 2012. "Socio-Economic Impact of Mobile Phones on Indian Agriculture," Development Economics Working Papers 23188, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:eab:develo:23188

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Oulton,Nicholas & O'Mahony,Mary, 1994. "Productivity and Growth," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521453455, April.
    2. 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).
    3. Kumar, Praduman & Mittal, Surabhi, 2006. "Agricultural Productivity Trends in India: Sustainability Issues," Agricultural Economics Research Review, Agricultural Economics Research Association (India), vol. 19(2006).
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Musafiri, Ildephonse & Mirzabaev, Alisher, 2014. "Long-Term Determinants of Agricultural Output in Smallholder Farmers in Rwanda," 2014 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2014, Minneapolis, Minnesota 169867, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    2. Glendenning, Claire J. & Ficarelli, Pier Paolo, 2012. "The relevance of content in ICT initiatives in Indian agriculture :," IFPRI discussion papers 1180, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. Jairath, M.S. & Yadav, Hema, 2012. "Role of ICT in Decision Making in Agricultural Marketing – A Case of Arid India," Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics, Indian Society of Agricultural Economics, vol. 67(3).
    4. Shalendra & Gummagolmath, K.C. & Sharma, Purushottam, 2011. "ICT Initiatives in Indian Agriculture - An Overview," Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics, Indian Society of Agricultural Economics, vol. 66(3).
    5. Venkatesh, P. & Nithyashree, M.L., 2014. "Institutional Changes in Delivery of Agricultural Inputs and Services to Farm Households in India," Agricultural Economics Research Review, Agricultural Economics Research Association (India), vol. 27(2014).
    6. Mittal, Surabhi & S.P., Subash & Ajay, Anurag & Kumar, Anurag, 2015. "Understanding the Knowledge and Social Networks in India- Case study of Bihar," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 212468, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    7. Christine Zhenwei Qiang & Siou Chew Kuek & Andrew Dymond & Steve Esselaar, 2012. "Mobile Applications for Agriculture and Rural Development," World Bank Other Operational Studies 21892, The World Bank.
    8. Tadesse, Getaw & Bahiigwa, Godfrey, 2015. "Mobile Phones and Farmers’ Marketing Decisions in Ethiopia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 296-307.
    9. Balwant Singh Mehta, 2013. "Capabilities, costs, networks and innovations: impact of mobile phones in rural India," Global Development Institute Working Paper Series ctg-2013-29, GDI, The University of Manchester.
    10. Das, B., 2014. "ICTs Adoption for Accessing Agricultural Information: Evidence from Indian Agriculture," Agricultural Economics Research Review, Agricultural Economics Research Association (India), vol. 27(2).
    11. Rathod, P. & Chander, M. & Bardhan, D., 2016. "Adoption Status and Influencing Factors of Mobile Telephony in Dairy Sector: A Study in Four States of India," Agricultural Economics Research Review, Agricultural Economics Research Association (India), vol. 29(1).
    12. Haggblade, Steven & Boughton, Duncan, 2013. "A Strategic Agricultural Sector and Food Security Diagnostic for Myanmar," Food Security International Development Working Papers 161372, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    13. Mittal, Surabhi & Mehar, Mamta, 0. "How Mobile Phones Contribute to Growth of Small Farmers? Evidence from India," Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, vol. 51.
    14. Birthal, Pratap S., 2013. "Application of Frontier Technologies for Agricultural Development," Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics, Indian Society of Agricultural Economics, vol. 68(1).
    15. Babu, Suresh Chandra & Glendenning, Claire J. & Asenso-Okyere, Kwadwo & Govindarajan, Senthil Kumar, 2012. "Farmers’ information needs and search behaviors: Case study in Tamil Nadu, India," IFPRI discussion papers 1165, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

    More about this item


    telecommunications; India; agriculture;

    JEL classification:

    • Q10 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - General

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