Mobile application technologies in food supply chain

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Phiri, Ariel Henry
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University of Zambia
The use of ICTs by way of developing mobile applications can go a long way in improving the small scale farmers and traders’ participation in trade. A mobile application that can be used by cooperatives to link traders and farmers, can reduce the need to travel in order to gather the agricultural commodities from rural areas, which can result in reduced exposure to road traffic accidents, loss of cash, lives and commodities. On the whole, reducing the cost of doing business and thus making peasant agriculture profitable. A survey was carried out at Soweto market in Lusaka and Libuyu market in Livingstone, where small scale traders and farmers were targeted. Questionnaires were distributed and oral interviews are carried out. It was found that 35.25% of the total number of respondents obtained their food commodities from outside their locality. This is one of the reason to establish the Food Supply Chain. The risks of not establishing a Food Supply Chain were seen from the results of the survey. These included risks associated with travel, where 30.5% of the respondents lost food commodities, and 91.6% traveled with large sums of cash. It was also found that 50.4% of the respondents use mobile money facilities and 75.25% use mobile phones when trading. The data show that the development of a mobile application was viable and would yield desirable results. A mobile application, called Smart Trader System was developed using a server which was connected to a modem. This system interacts with the mobile phone for the traders via SMS. The system was developed using NetBeans Integrated Development Environment, MySQL database and java development kit for windows. It has been implemented and tested. This application will go a long way to reducing the cost of doing business among the farmers and traders, who may be remotely located.
Master of Engineering in ICT Regulation, Policy and Management
Cell phones-Programming , Food industry and trade