cloud computing, big data, smallholder farmers


Cloud computing and big data applications are likely to have far-reaching and profound impacts on developing world-based smallholder farmers. Especially, the use of mobile devices to access cloudbased applications is a promising approach to deliver value to smallholder farmers in developing countries since according to the International Telecommunication Union, mobile-cellular penetration in developing countries is expected to reach 90% by the end of 2014. This article examines the contexts, mechanisms, processes and consequences associated with cloud computing and big data deployments in farming activities that could affect the lives of developing world-based smallholder farmers. We analyze the roles of big data and cloud-based applications in facilitating input availability, providing access to resources, enhancing farming processes and productivity and improving market access, marketability of products and bargaining power for smallholders. In the developing world’s context, an even bigger question than that of whether agricultural productivity can be improved by using cloud computing and big data is who is likely to benefit from the growth in productivity. The paper analyzes the conditions under which at agricultural productivity associated with the utilization cloud computing and big data applications in developing countries may benefit smallholder farmers. Also investigated in the paper are important privacy and ethical issues involved around cloud computing and big data. While some analysts view that people in developing countries do not need privacy, the paper challenged this view and points out that data privacy and security issues are even more important to smallholder farmers in developing countries.



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