Prices of staple foods like maize, beans, and rice vary substantially in Sub-Saharan Africa, depending on the season, country, and region. Addressing the imbalance in food supply and increasing farmer income may require a multi-pronged approach that tackles multiple barriers at once. Researchers are evaluating the impact of contract farming services and a mobile technology-enhanced trader alerts system (eWarehousing technology) on food markets across Uganda. In a large randomized controlled trial covering 12% of Uganda, researchers are assessing a new mobile marketplace designed to integrate these markets by linking sellers from rural areas with national buyers. The platform, Kudu, was developed by computer scientists at Makerere University and operates on basic phones via simple SMS submissions. It aims to reduce search costs and provide a new outside option for farmers to sell their crop. The evaluation is conducted in partnership with AgriNet, one of Uganda’s largest private-sector brokerage companies, to promote Kudu and facilitate trades with on-the-ground services. Additional services such as credit facilities, insurance products, and price information services are also randomly offered as sub-experiments within the treatment communities. Researchers will measure outcomes on price integration, trader business flows, and ultimately, farmer welfare. Results forthcoming.
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