Bringing Agricultural Value-Added Services (VAS) to Mongolian Herders through Mobile Phones
CPRafrica 2012/CPRsouth7 Conference, Port Louis, Mauritius, September 5-7, 2012
14 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2012
Date Written: September 6, 2012
The research project reported in this paper tested an approach to integrate location-specific weather information with mobile phones so as to increase Mongolian herders’ resilience to climatic risks and to support their livelihood. The research methodology was designed to involve the herders’ participation in data collection and reporting with mobile phones. Rather than using only aggregate national data, the project focused on the location-specific microclimatic conditions essential for early warning. Research and testing interventions of the project were implemented in three study sites, representing different ecosystems. In all the study sites, localized weather forecast data is extremely important, as risk of zud is higher than in other places. Herders not only received localized weather forecast data through their mobile phones, but also participated in the weather observation activities. Also, other information needs that could improve herders’ livelihood were identified. The project concluded with a recommendation to launch an application for Mongolian herders with customized and localized weather forecasts, agricultural news and other relevant information – in the form of SMS messages sent to their mobile phones similar to Reuters Market Light and mKRISHI. Taking into account Mongolia’s vast territory and remoteness of rural communities, it is expected that these information services bring significant economic and social benefits to the herders.
Keywords: access, economy, information, infrastructure, poverty
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