“Farmers today feel that much of the world is out of touch with agriculture and the important role of farmers.” – Awake Magazine
“In our highly independent society, rural problems quickly become urban problems and vice versa. Neither the urban nor rural portions of our society can flourish for long while the other languishes behind.” – Sociologists Don A. Dillman and Daryl J. Hobbs
AMIS-Cameroon started as a quest for solutions to every farmer’s plight – a plight that is inevitably linked to all of us who are dependent upon their precious products. Observations of farms and markets throughout Cameroon revealed that many of the difficulties that farmers, particularly rural farmers, face originate primarily from a lack of vital information.
Take the example of a typical farmer who harvests fruits and vegetables in bulk and takes them to a local market. Unaware of the demand trends and price levels at that market, the farmer may encounter one hundred other farmers selling similar products, forcing him to sell his products at a loss or to not sell them at all. Unable to recuperate the hefty transportation costs needed to take his products back with him, the farmer is forced to abandon them for pigs and goats to scavenge on. Since the market is inundated with too many fruits and vegetables but too few buyers, the farmer’s investment goes to waste.
Meanwhile, in another market, there isn’t enough food to meet the needs of hungry consumers looking for the food they need to survive.
The problem here is not due to a scarcity of resources; it is due to a lack of information. At AMIS-Cameroon, we aim to bridge the gap between farmers and their consumers, to ensure a mutually beneficial and successful relationship that will help reduce hunger and poverty on both sides.
The Quest for Solutions
AMIS-Cameroon started as a research project sponsored by Spider, a Swedish organization that promotes the use of Information and Communication Technologies for development initiatives in developing countries. The research conducted with several organized farming groups in the Fako Division of Cameroon investigated the potential of SMS in educating farmers about sustainable farming practices, connect them to potential markets and improve their economic situation. The positive feedback from this research confirmed that this technology would be applicable and beneficial to a large rural community of farmers and consumers.
This simple use of technology can produce large-scale results, allowing farmers to protect their investments, consumers to find the food they need, and the Cameroonian people to thrive.