Profile: Agriculture

Strengthening Value Chains

Internet-enabled businesses within agriculture have grown to the stage where they can achieve scale and impact. Esoko, from Ghana, launched out of a public-private partnership to address market price transparency and evolved its services beyond that. Virtual City, meanwhile, received growth capital from Nokia and Acumen Fund after its proof of concept in order to scale. Within agriculture, information management, marketing and supply chain management solutions show the greatest potential for impact from Internet-enabled solutions. Such successes suggest that the sector is ripe for for-profit business models to flourish, particularly in the presence of investors looking to shift pilot projects into scalable businesses. Policymakers can improve the conditions for Internet-enabled agriculture businesses by investing in literacy and eLiteracy, eliminating customs duties on Internet-enabled devices and, in some countries, coordinating interventions involving multiple stakeholders.

Impact intensity and potential of internet-enabled services in agriculture

Agriculture Scorecard

Internet-enabled businesses within agriculture have grown to a stage where they are both improving operational efficiencies in the value chain and demonstrating impact on farmer incomes.


Information management


Communications, awareness, marketing


Supply chain management


Service delivery




workforce development





Low Low
Med Med
High High

Heat mapping based on perceived sector need, perceived
national need and of current activity in the country.

Dalberg report sector intensity
Supply chain management software

Virtual City has seen his supply chain management software reduce the lag between produce deliveries and cash collections from 8 days down to 3, freeing working capital

Enabling businesses that increase farm gate prices could shift $75M to those most in need within fice years and generate $55M in financing

Cumulative five-year impacts

Cumulative five-year impacts

Key assumptions

  • Farmer incomes will increase 9% based on more accurate weighting the lower end of Virtual City's 9-13% claimed range
  • Average farmer incomes in the four countries range between $320-$460
  • Number of farmers increases at the population growth rate
  • Businesses in Senegal, Ghana and Nigeria grow 30% slower than Virtual City did
  • 10% of customers use their records to secure annual input loans
  • Loans only cover 75% of these farmers' total short term financing needs.

High quality, reliable internet connectivity is key to the success of distributed agricultural collections businesses which require syncing information between mobile data collection devices and a database with historical records

John Waibochi statement

Price transparency for local and international markets lets farmers find the best price for their produce, with Manobi's Time To Market service increasing gum producer incomes 40-50%

Dalberg report selected analysis
  • Policy makers should make national public sector agricultural information available and useful digitally.
  • Training programs should partner with private sector firms to create incentives for learning.
  • A credible, comprehensive agricultural development strategy can help businesses understand where the future market opportunities are and create appropriate solutions for them.
  • Eliminating import tariffs on Internet-enabled devices will help decrease the cost of Internet-enabled solutions in agriculture.
Source: Dalberg analysis and interviews
Dalberg report considerations