There are a growing number of systems that push market price information to farmers, fishermen and ranchers who traditionally have had to either make a guess about where they should sell their goods, or sell to intermediaries. I just came across another one in the State Department's eJournal:
The Armenian Agricultural Market Information System… distributes daily fruit and vegetable prices from the large city markets, using text messages sent over the country’s extensive cell phone network…. [F]armers pay a small fee for the service, allowing them to dial in a code to a market-specific phone number, which then triggers an automated text response from a central database of market information. This information puts [cucumber farmer Rafik] Smbatyan [and others] in a much better position to bargain with food wholesalers, improves his competitive position in the marketplace, and increases profits.
I always wonder what middlemen think of these systems, and how they've reacted to them. Have they provided actual value that these systems are in danger of undercutting, or they have merely arbitraged information?
And it's actually a pretty nice-looking Web site. Even here in California it loads quickly. Did you know that green apples are selling today in Armavir for an average of 425? (I don't know if that's 425 per apple or per bushel, or even what you need 425 of to buy however many apples you can buy in Armavir, but– I know that's how much, or many, you need. If you're there.)