The annual ICT4D Conferences have proven to be an invaluable opportunity for NGOs, private sector organizations, universities, governmental agencies and foundations to share their experience in using ICT to increase the impact of development programs and to learn from each other. In 2016, 750 individuals from 76 countries and 320 private sector and public sector and civil society explored the ways to harness the full power of digital solutions to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Our thanks to Accenture, Catholic Relief Services, Esri, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, iMerit Technology Services, Inmarsat, IS Solutions, Making All Voices Count, Mercy Corps, Microsoft, NetHope, Oxfam, Pandexio, Qualcom Wireless Reach, RTI International, SimbaNet and World Vision for making that possible.
A study of the Lima Links platform in Zambia (providing price information) applying mixed methods research involving farmers and other actors related to facilitating the roll out of the tool was conducted. The research provided insight on the realistic role of ICT solutions in agricultural development considering their interaction with farmers and their environment and also explored issues of the platforms sustainability. Further the research provided insight on ICT4D interventions in Southern Africa for the academic and development community considering that information on these interventions is skew to the East African context.
Results show that the provision of efficient market information (or at least price information) can have positive effects on agricultural supply chains benefitting both farmers and traders. Up-to-date or current market information enables farmers to negotiate with traders from a position of greater strength and facilitates spatial distribution of products from rural areas to towns and between markets. In addition, quality historical market information enables farmers to make planting decisions, including those related to new crops.