Agricultural service delivery through mobile phones: Local innovation and technological opportunities in Kenya
This book chapter published by Springer elaborates on the spread of mobile phone use across Kenya and the opportunities this brings to improve service delivery for smallscale farmers. International and local companies have already started to capitalize on these opportunities, although many mobile phone-enabled services (m-services) are still at an early stage. Kenya has emerged as a leader in m-service development in Sub-Saharan Africa. The authors assesses the key factors that have helped the local innovation scene to emerge and reviews existing agricultural m-services that provide Kenyan farmers with access to information and learning, financial services, and input and output markets. They particularly point to the start-up/innovation environment, the government policy, the mobile banking services already in place, and the growing customers base. The author concludes by stressing that m-services can only ever be part of a broader solution. Farmers in the developing world face a multitude of challenges, some of which can be addressed through m-services, but many others of which cannot. Therefore, m-service should be embedded in complementary support programs and infrastructure developments to tackle other production and marketing limitations. Such complementary measures do not necessarily need to be implemented by the m-service provider, but can be the responsibility of other actors, such as companies, non-governmental organizations or government departments.