DrumNet and the Impact of Mobiles on Kenyan Farmers
Excerpted from Mark Pesce's book, The Next Billion Seconds:
“Farmers, forever at the mercy of the weather, insects and crop blights, suffered from ‘informational asymmetry’ in the marketplace: the buyers have always known more than the sellers, using that information to their advantage. Hyperconnectivity has disrupted that informational arbitrage: farmers in Kenya use DrumNet, a mobile service that allows them to check the current market prices for their produce at a range of locations. When a farmer readies his crop for sale, he sends a text message to DrumNet, using the response to choose the market which will give him the best return for his efforts. Just as Kerala fishermen phone around for the best price for their catch, a Kenyan farmer can quickly learn where he’ll get the best price for his vegetables. Hyperconnectivity makes informational asymmetries a thing of the past; every party to a transaction can negotiate a sale fully informed. With DrumNet, Kenyan farmers have been earning as much as 40% more for their crops – a rate of return which makes the service a very good investment.
The DrumNet concept has spread across the developing world. In India, Nokia mobiles come equipped with apps that illiterate farmers employ to get information about crops, weather and market prices. Nokia makes a small profit off the service – which is expected to grow to serve tens of millions of users – and farmers in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan earn more for their produce. Each of these farmers, hyperconnected, has access to informational resources as great as those available to the most well-resourced farmer, anywhere in the world.” (http://blog.futurestreetconsulting.com/2011/10/06/hypereconomics/)
Book: The Next Billion Seconds. Mark Pesce.