Various mobile services and apps are offered in the agricultural sector, such as information on weather, farming advice like the iCow, insurance schemes, supply chain management or financial services like M-Pesa. This service is used by 22 million subscribers thanks to a very widespread network of agents. Alone in the months from April to June 2017, transactions totalling 7.3 million euros were handled with this system. 

According to Baumüller, a dense network with local agents is a very important precondition for the rural population to really make use of mobile services. “They can make people familiar with using the phone for something else other than calling,” she maintains, and recommends focusing on intermediaries such as agro-dealers, community leaders or agents like M-Pesa, who dispose of advanced technologies and digital skills. In her opinion, this aspect and more investments by local investors are the success factors for scaling-up strategies in the digital sector. 

Beate Wörner, journalist, Fellbach, Germany