In the absence of agricultural extension officers (paid by the government to disseminate information and expertise on farming), many farmers rely on the local seller of agricultural inputs for tips and advice on handling crop diseases and pests and dealing with other farming problems. Many new mobile phone apps propose to deliver agricultural extension services via SMS or, in a few cases, through interactive voice response (IVR). An unanswered question is whether farmers are willing or able to pay ‘purely’ for information provided through these services. The agricultural product seller makes his money not directly from his good advice, but from the farming inputs he sells. His good advice may, however, draw farmers to his shop and motivate them to buy the products he sells.

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Categories: Farming