Digital information channels in the Rwandan potato value chain

Policy brief Firms

  • The potential of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to provide smallholder farmers with useful agronomic and market information is widely heralded.
  • Mobile phones can offer much richer modes of communication sharing, but in many parts of the world limited digital literacy, use of smart phones, and poor data connectivity can constrain this potential.
  • This brief examines the introduction of a platform that enables Irish potato farmers in Rwanda to access interactive and dynamic content on feature phones at zero cost.
  • Overall, usage rates of the platform remained low, even after repeated attempts to engage and train more farmers. Most uses of the platform consisted of examining weather forecasts, and there was little interest in the interactive chat features offered by the platform.
  • The authors draw out three important lessons worth considering in the context of these results.