In Jalalabad and elsewhere in Afghanistan, wholesalers now send text messages to farmers with information about commodities they can use to increase crop yields. The SMS program began with seed funding and is now self-sustaining through revenues wholesalers have generated through increased sales. These sales, in turn, are being fueled by farmers whose crop yields have increased through information they have gained by SMS about the proper use of fertilizers, pesticides, and other agricultural commodities.
The pilot, called the Incentives Driving Economic Alternatives for the North, East, and West (IDEA-NEW) project, entailed market research to ensure and align business and development interests; collaborative design with local stakeholders (including workshops with wholesalers and farmer surveys); technical assistance for all stakeholders; seed funding via grants for wholesalers. After seeing increased revenues, 100% of the wholesalers involved in the pilot continued the SMS program using their own funding.