Using Mobile Tech To Cut Corruption In Agriculture

Written by Dana Sanchez

Zambia plans to use mobile tracking technology as part of a pilot program to cut down on corruption in the distribution of subsidized seeds and fertilizer, ITWebAfrica reports.

Farmers in 13 districts will receive electronic vouchers through mobile phones, which means only people in areas with mobile phone networks can benefit.

A similar system has been used successfully in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi that cuts out middlemen using the electronic voucher system, the report said.

Farmers will be able to get seed and fertilizer directly from private seed producers and suppliers in the country.

Mobile phone numbers are electronically linked to a specific e-voucher card and beneficiaries will be registered in the system.

Malawi’s subsidy program is seen as a model by a growing number of African governments and international development and agriculture agencies, according to the U.N.

Malawi provided subsidies for seeds and fertilizers over the objections of development partners — a bold move that paid off. Savings from reduced imports and increased export sales generated three to four times more revenue than the subsidies cost, according to AfricanRenewal.

Malawi’s electronic system made truck drivers aware that their deliveries were being tracked daily and saved farmers from traveling to markets to wait for fertilizer deliveries that arrived late or not at all. It also notified police if trucks did not deliver their full inventory or did not arrive at all, according to a report in FeedTheFuture.