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Connected Agriculture: The role of mobile in driving efficiency and sustainability in the food and agriculture value chain

Mobile communications can help to meet the challenge of feeding an estimated 9.2 billion people by 2050. The 12 specific opportunities explored in this study could increase agricultural income by around US$138 billion across 26 of Vodafone’s markets in 2020. They could also cut carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 5 mega tonnes (Mt) in these markets and reduce freshwater withdrawals for agricultural irrigation by 6%, with significant savings in water-stressed regions. This report aims to stimulate the necessary engagement between mobile operators, governments, NGOs and businesses to realise these opportunities and explore others. Oxfam has not been involved in modelling the potential impacts included in the report and therefore, cannot comment on how these impacts have been quantified. However, Oxfam particularly welcomes the focus that this research places on mobile financial services and mobile information platforms as areas offering significant potential to support the poorest to invest in their farms; how core business, rather than corporate philanthropy, can operate to have positive developmental impact; and the importance of developing new business models that offer greater opportunities and reduce risks for smallholders, as either suppliers or consumers in the value chain. From Oxfam, David Bright, Senior Advisor on Markets and Enterprise, and Liz Kirk, Global Advisor on the private sector, contributed to this report.