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Friday, 02 September 2011

Agricultural Markets in IT

With assistance provided by UNCTAD and the International Trade Centre under the European Commission's All ACP Agricultural Commodities Programme (AAACP), the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) is working to improve the quality and consistency of market information supplied to stakeholders such as small farmers, farmer organisations, wholesalers and exporters and to facilitate greater market participation. In particular, SPC is working to establish Web- and mobile phone-based mechanisms to disseminate information and reach farmers, including those in the most remote areas.

SPC, in collaboration with UNCTAD, facilitated a workshop on the establishment of a subregional agricultural market information system (MIS). The workshop took place on 17-19 August 2011 and included participants from Fiji, Samoa, PNG, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Tonga.

During the workshop, the INFOSHARE system - developed by UNCTAD within the framework of the AAACP programme and tailored to the needs of the Pacific region - was presented. The use of the system on the national level will enable stakeholders in the agriculture sector to access timely market price information for a range of different crops, via the Web. Trade at Hand, developed by the International Trade Centre (ITC), complements INFOSHARE and makes it possible to assume direct marketing operations via mobile telephone use.

During the workshop, UNCTAD also officially launched the new version of INFOCOMM, a Web portal focusing on commodities. Developed under the AAACP programme, INFOCOMM aims to make available to various stakeholders free, structured, concise, objective and regularly updated commodity market information. These services enable people to request price information for agricultural products via text messaging and facilitate interaction between buyers and sellers, in particular in commodity networks, assisting trade and transactions.

Source: Solomon Times

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