Realizing the potential of digital development: The case of agricultural advice

Journal Article
Published on 13 December 2019

Published article available here.


Mobile phones are almost universally available, and the costs of information transmission are low. They are used by smallholder farmers in low-income countries, largely successfully, to optimize markets for their produce. Fabregas et al. review the potential for boosting mobile phone use with smartphones to deliver not only market information but also more sophisticated agricultural extension advice. GPS-linked smartphones could provide locally relevant weather and pest information and video-based farming advice. But how to support the financial requirements of such extension services is less obvious, given the unwieldiness of government agencies and the vested interests of commercial suppliers.


Raissa Fabregas

University of Texas

Michael Kremer

University of Chicago

Frank Schilbach

Massachusetts Institute of Technology