Market Information System and the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange

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Addis Ababa University


The majority of Ethiopian population lives in the countryside and makes a living by producing agricultural products. Farmers in the rural areas sell their agricultural products to merchants from the cities at very low prices. This is because farmers do not have the option of getting market information of agricultural products in the major market places other than their localities. Due to this fact, the livelihood of farmers is deteriorating day by day. This has a direct impact on the Ethiopian economy since the economy strongly depends on agriculture. To improve the livelihood of farmers, it is important that they get market information to enable them sell what they have at reasonable and fair prices. Hence, efficient and practical way of providing up-to-date market information to farmers is highly needed. The Ethiopia Commodity Exchange is established to create a better market environment for farmers as well as consumers. ICT is one of the three pillars of Ethiopia Commodity Exchange. Using tools of ICT, one can provide accurate market information to farmers and traders in rural areas. The majority of the population in the rural areas is not educated enough to use computers. In addition, implementation of computer based Market Information System may require installing computers and computer network in the villages of rural Ethiopia. This kind of venture can be very expensive. Furthermore, the necessary infrastructure, such as electricity, for setting up computer networks is not available in most rural parts of Ethiopia. Hence, a solution which is not too costly to implement and at the same time easy to use is needed.In this work, Ethiopia Commodity Exchange's existing market information requirements were collected and studied. Relevant country wide information was explored. In addition, experiences of other commodity exchanges were investigated. During the system study process, nine Market information System solutions were identified. In order to select a feasible Market Information System solution, eight reasonable evaluation criteria were developed. The evaluation criteria developed took into consideration the educational situation of the country, technological trend, the existing infrastructure of the country, and the requirements of Ethiopia Commodity Exchange. By applying the evaluation criteria, out of the short listed solutions one is selected. Finally, a high level system design of the selected Market Information System is developed and proposed. The proposed Market Information System employs Interactive Voice Response based technology. This technology combines the simplicity and accessibility of telephones with the intelligence and sophistication of computers. The proposed Market Information System is accessible via the public telephone network. A farmer who knows how to make use of a telephone can use IVR based systems to retrieve market information. Farmers and traders can interface with the system through the telephone keypad by sending telephone digits. The system has prerecorded messages. Based on the input from the end user, the system plays back the appropriate prerecorded market information. Furthermore, the system has a capability of building new messages from the existing once; hence dynamic market information can be played back to the end user.



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