ICT Vital in War Against Poverty
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
THE application of Information Communication Technology (ICT) in gathering, analysing and disseminating market information to businesses and agricultural producers has been cited as a significant strategy in poverty reduction.
The Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Marketing, Dr Shaban Mwinjaka, made the remark in Dar es Salaam over the weekend while opening a stakeholders’ meeting on Management Information Systems (MIS) Strategy, operational Framework and prototypes.
“Export led economic growth that provides significant reduction in poverty is only possible if the majority of small and medium scale businesses and agricultural producers have access to market information coupled with the capacity to utilise it,” said Dr Mwinjaka.
Having accurate and accessible market information is essential even in situations whereby some fundamentals like poor infrastructure are considered as key constraints to economic growth, he explained.
For example, market information can quantify the costs and prices for the producers and manufacturers to help them determine market trends, he said and added that the state of market information in Tanzania currently lags the overall objective for the provision of timely, accurate and cost effective statistics to both public and private sectors.
He lamented the fact that Information was scattered, isolated and not easily accessible despite the fact that poverty remains a major problem, especially in rural communities where most of the farming takes place.
Inability to access market information even in good harvest seasons continued to bar farmers from enjoying premium prices for their products. Since the analytical capacity in both public and private sectors is limited regardless of the size of the firm, the MIS must integrate with the existing value addition chain and business development services if it is to be widely adopted and eliminate obstacles for small and medium enterprises as well as producers.