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Analysing the effects of information and communication technologies (ICTs) on the integration of East African farmers in a value chain context

Krone Madlen () and Peter Dannenberg ()
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Krone Madlen: Institute of Geography, University of Cologne, Albertus Magnus Platz, 50923 Cologne, Germany

Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsgeographie, 2018, vol. 62, issue 1, 65-81

Abstract: Insufficient access to markets, limited financial transactions, and a lack of information and knowledge often restrict opportunities for small-scale farmers to link up with commercial value chains in Sub-Saharan Africa. Advances in information and communication technologies (ICTs), especially mobile phones and the internet, have expanded the possibility to communicate across geographical distances and to integrate into commercial value chains. By using a novel combination of conceptual considerations on ICTs, value chains, and relational proximity, this paper assesses: 1. How the use of ICTs affects the integration of small-scale farmers into the value chains (by analysing the information and knowledge flow, the financial and market transactions) and 2. to what extent the use of ICTs is on the other side influenced by the value chain context (i.e. the structure and coordination of the chain and the relational proximity between farmer and buyer). Our findings showed that even simple ICTs (phones) can lead to improvements for farmers to integrate into the chain as they facilitate simple information and complex knowledge flow, financial transactions, and market access, even though a greater structural transformation was absent. However, our results showed that the extent of the effects depends on the context in the value chains, in particular their structure, coordination, and the relational proximity between the actors. In this way, this paper contributes to the conceptual discussions on information and communication for development (ICT4D) and the dynamics in value chains.

Keywords: Africa; ICT4D; mobile phones; relational proximity; value chains (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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