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Thursday, May 18 • 15:00 - 15:45
The sociotechnical transformation of the livestock market in Tanzania LIMITED

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This talk presents findings from a qualitative enquiry into the rapid uptake of mobile phone by pastoral communities in Tanzania and its use as a tool to tackle marketing constraints. This is the result of a research design, involving an interregional comparative analysis of two key production regions; (Arusha and the Lake Zone) and two groups of livestock producers (the Maasai pastoralists and Wasukuma agro-pastoralists respectively). It is within the general ICT4D thinking that aid agencies and public bodies in Tanzania supported the development of the Livestock Information Network and Knowledge System (LINKS), as an ICT platform designed to improve the livestock market by sharing market information. However, studies show that LINKS has not had the intended effect.

Applying the Social Shaping of Technology (SST) perspective from the Science and Technology Studies (STS), and in particular the concepts of ‘appropriation’, the study examines the embrace of mobile phones by those producers – who keep livestock under the extensive (pastoralist) and semi-intensive (agro-pastoralist) systems respectively, and examines to which extent the mobile phone is changing how livestock keepers interact in the livestock market and how this is affecting their livelihoods.

The research shows that the significance of mobile phone varies with user groups; for instance, for the Maasai who still lead a nomadic life, the mobile phone is used ‘conservatively’ to communicate on herd management and to coordinate household affairs in ways that do not substantially disrupt traditional social practices and roles. In contrast, the Wasukuma agro-pastoralists use mobile phones to introduce new processes to support production and marketing, being one good example the strategy used to coordinate transportation and conduction of cattle to the market. The research also suggests that the use of mobile phones is reshaping the trade activity by increasing the communication among all players and thus generating conditions for more transparency to emerge within the market.

avatar for Luis Soares

Luis Soares

PhD candidate, The University of Edinburgh
I am both, a professional and academic, with more than 20 years of experience in the field of media and communication. I have been researching the use of mobile phones in developing countries in the last 10 years. I have worked in the public and the private sector coordinating teams... Read More →

Thursday May 18, 2017 15:00 - 15:45 IST