SMS provides agricultural information 24/7 in Cambodia

The Kingdom of Cambodia, despite making significant economic progress over the years, still has about 80% of its rural people depend on subsistence farming as their main livelihood. This prompted the Royal Government to implement a ‘pro-poor trade strategy’ focused on an export-oriented agricultural sector to benefit rural areas. One of the obstacles of the strategy was inadequate information flow coupled with inefficient post-harvest system, lack of external market, and high transportation cost (Fitzgerald et al., 2010).

The agricultural supply chain lacked information on price, quality, and alternative buyers that could be useful to farmers and traders in remote regions. To improve this situation, the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) funded a pilot project called electronic marketing communication system (EMCS) that uses SMS technology. The EMCS applied Infotext software that allowed mobile users to send and receive messages 24/7. It provided two-way information flow from internal or external databases and website accessible through any Cambodian mobile network. The EMCS pilot project included farmers, traders, government agencies and researchers. It provided timely and accurate market information that led to better decision making.

The pilot project was successfully implemented. However, its sustainability depends on assistance to expand its content, secure a stable electric supply, and add blended applications. It also requires more inclusive ways for farmers to participate in the process. These recommendations will make it possible for the whole country to adopt EMCS.

Source: Fitzerald, Robert, Spriggs, John, and Keosothea Nou. 2010. Enhancing communications in developing countries using SMS technology: The case of agricultural value chains in Cambodia. International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life-Long Learning. Vol. 20. No. 1. pp. 72-83. Retrieved August 10, 2017.