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Abstract

Telecommunication, especially mobile phones have the potential to provide solution to the existing information asymmetry in various lagging sectors like agriculture. India’s agricultural sector suffers from low growth rates and low productivity. Issues in access to information are weak points at every stage of the agri-supply chain. For small farmer-based economy like India, access to information can possibly enable better incomes and productivity to the farmers. This paper through focus group discussions and in-depth interviews with farmers, has tried to find answers to the use and impact of mobile phones and mobile-enabled services on agricultural productivity. The answers to these questions are of relevance to develop better policy environment conducive for small and medium farmers and have implications for mobile phone operators, information service providers, and policymakers. The study has shown that although, mobile phones can act as catalyst to improving farm productivity and rural incomes, the quality of information, timeliness of information and trustworthiness of information are the three important aspects that have to be delivered to the farmers to meet their needs and expectations. There exist critical binding constraints that restrict the ability of the farming community to realize full-potential gains and it is more so for small than large farmers.

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