Mobile Money, Smallholder Farmers, and Household Welfare in Kenya

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PloS one
The use of mobile phones has increased rapidly in many developing countries, including in rural areas. Besides reducing the costs of communication and improving access to information, mobile phones are an enabling technology for other innovations. One important example are mobile phone based money transfers, which could be very relevant for the rural poor, who are often underserved by the formal banking system. We analyze impacts of mobile money technology on the welfare of smallholder farm households in Kenya. Using panel survey data and regression models we show that mobile money use has a positive impact on household income. One important pathway is through remittances received from relatives and friends. Such remittances contribute to income directly, but they also help to reduce risk and liquidity constraints, thus promoting agricultural commercialization. Mobile money users apply more purchased farm inputs, market a larger proportion of their output, and have higher profits than non-users of this technology. These results suggest that mobile money can help to overcome some of the important smallholder market access constraints that obstruct rural development and poverty reduction.
Household, Mobile Money, Smallholder Farmers
Kikulwe, E. M., Fischer, E., & Qaim, M. (2014). Mobile money, smallholder farmers, and household welfare in Kenya. PloS one, 9(10), e109804.