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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Running out of credit: the limitations of mobile telephony in a Tanzanian agricultural marketing system
Author:Molony, ThomasISNI
Year:2008
Periodical:Journal of Modern African Studies
Volume:46
Issue:4
Pages:637-658
Language:English
Geographic term:Tanzania
Subjects:telecommunications
traders
farmers
food market
interpersonal relations
mobile telephone
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/30224909
Abstract:Poor farmers often lack credit to purchase agricultural inputs, and rely on their buyers to provide it. This paper considers the effects of mobile phones on traders of perishable foodstuffs operating between Tanzania's Southern Highlands and Dar es Salaam's wholesale market, with a particular focus on the importance of credit in the relationship between potato and tomato farmers and their wholesale buyers. It argues that the ability to communicate using these new information and communication technologies (ICTs) does not significantly alter the trust relationship between the two groups. It also suggests that farmers, in effect, often have to accept the price they are told their crops are sold for, irrespective of the method of communication used to convey this message, because their buyers are also their creditors. In this situation, many farmers are unable to exploit new mobile phone-based services to seek information on market prices, and potential buyers in other markets. Doing so runs the risk of breaking a long-term relationship with a buyer who is willing to supply credit because of their established business interaction. It is suggested that, under a more open system than currently exists in Tanzania, mobile-payment ('m-payment') applications should target these creditor-buyers as key agents in connecting farmers to the credit they so often require. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]
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