This story is from the 2016 Access 25: How Mobility is Reshaping the Globe. Explore more from this issue

M-Farming: Growing Agricultural Output Around the World

Mobile technology may provide farmers with critical solutions.

Africa contains 25 percent of the world’s arable land, but its farmers raise only about 10 percent of the world’s food. Barriers to markets, infrastructure and information have prevented the continent from fulfilling its vast agricultural potential, a situation that’s common throughout many parts of the developing world.

Mobile technology could help knock down those barriers. For example, Kenyan cattle farmers can access an app called iCow to help them monitor their herds. Ethiopia, Tanzania, and other nations have developed mobile messaging services to provide farmers with data on crop disease, fertilization techniques, weather conditions, market prices and more.

These and similar developments could help unlock considerable economic potential. Consulting firm McKinsey & Company has determined that agricultural development is twice as effective as foreign aid as a tool for reducing poverty.

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