An assessment of mobile phone‑based dissemination of weather and market information in the Upper West Region of Ghana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • Authors:
  • Prince Etwire
  • Samuel Saaka Buah
  • Mathieu Ouedraogo
  • Robert Zougmore
  • Samuel Partey
  • And 3 others
  • External authors:
  • Edward Martey
  • Sidzabda Djibril Dayamba
  • Jules Bayala

Abstract

Background
The rapid growth of mobile phones in Ghana has opened up the possibility of delivering timely and useful weather and market information to farmers at costs lower than traditional agricultural extension services. In this paper, we assess the usefulness, constraints, and factors likely to influence farmers’ decisions to patronize mobile phone-based weather and market information.

Methods
We rely on primary data from 310 farmers in the Upper West Region, an understudied part of Ghana. We subject the data to three types of analysis. First, we model farmers’ decision to patronize mobile phone-based weather and market information by estimating a binary logit model. Second, we use descriptive statistics and hypothesis testing to analyse the level of usefulness of mobile phone-based weather and market information. We disaggregate the analysis by sex, income status, and age group. Finally, we use qualitative analysis to summarize the constraints associated with the utilization of mobile phone-based weather and market information.

Results
We find that contact with agricultural extension agents and farmer-to-farmer extension services significantly influences farmers’ decision to patronize mobile phone-based weather and market information. Regardless of sex, income status, and age group, farmers generally rate mobile phone-based weather and market information as very useful. We identify inexact information, complex text messages, information that are too costly to implement, and poor infrastructure as the constraints to the utilization of mobile phone-based weather and market information.

Conclusion
In order to improve the utilization of mobile phone-based weather and market information, disseminators of mobile phone-based information such as Esoko should constantly update and provide client-specific information. Improvements in mobile phone networks and related services will enhance the utilization of mobile phone-based weather and market information.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalAgriculture & Food Security
Volume6
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2017