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17 Oct, 2015 09:41 AM

Vodafone/Accenture report on building opportunities with the use of mobile technology for Smart Agriculture

In 2011, Vodafone and Accenture joined forces, together with Oxfam, and carried out a large study across many countries and published a report entitled: Connected Agriculture: The role of mobile in driving efficiency and sustainability in the food and agriculture value chain. The report provides insights into the opportunities, potential barriers and benefits of mobile in agriculture with recommendations for action by businesses, governments and NGOs. 
According to the authors, "It is not intended to present mobile technology as the panacea for the complex challenges affecting food production and consumption. Instead, it aims to provide a basis for discussions between individuals and organisations to create ideas, help prioritise opportunities with the biggest potential, and scale up many of the existing pilot programmes in this area." 
The study identified the key challenges in the value chain and a list of approximately 100 potential opportunities, which were then prioritised based on qualitative assessments to a shortlist of 12 key opportunities for mobile technology, in four key areas highlighted by stakeholders: 
1. Improving access to financial services; 
2. Provision of agricultural information; 
2. Improving data visibility for supply chain efficiency; and 
4. Enhancing access to markets.  
Information on the shortlisting process and assumptions underlying the analysis is available in the appendix of the report on page 33.  
Each of the 12 opportunities was modelled across 26 countries in Africa, India, Australasia, Europe and the Middle East where Vodafone is present either through subsidiaries, joint ventures or associates. 
The report also makes their recommendations on how to realise the key opportunities, including the following recommendations in relation to the need for building of partnerships with the relevant stakeholders to carry out Pilot projects: 
1. Pilot projects are important for testing new products and services with target customers in local markets, helping mobile operators improve knowledge and understanding, as well as gaining credibility with diverse stakeholders;
2. Pilot projects will help to identify and solve problems, building the business case for the opportunities presented in this study and also provide an opportunity for partners to test out options for the delivery of these services with a view to creating longer term partnerships. 
The recommendations can be found on page 31 of the report.
Specifically for the India context and in follow up to the above report, in May, 2015, the Vodafone Group, supported by the Vodafone Foundation and in collaboration with Accenture Sustainability Services, has published a report entitled Connected Farming in India: How mobile can support farmers’ livelihoods. The report concludes that the introduction of six simple mobile services designed to help small-scale farmers in emerging markets could boost the farm gate incomes of 70 million Indian farmers by US$9 billion in 2020. The report can be found here