OLD Media Moves

Reuters looks to provide market data in developing countries

June 29, 2008

Tim Arango of The New York Times writes Sunday about how Reuters is trying to increase its presence in developing countries by providing market data for all kinds of commodities.

ReutersArango writes, “To that end, the company has been testing a program called Reuters Market Light for several months in Maharashtra, India’s third-largest state, about the size of Italy. The state is one of India’s prominent agricultural centers, with farmers growing onions, oranges, corn, soybeans, wheat and bananas. But the farmers’ business suffers from the difficulty of comparing prices from one market to another.

“’We kind of saw that there was a clear market inefficiency,’ said Mans Olof-Ors, a Reuters employee who had the idea for Market Light three years ago. ‘The farmer would decide which market to travel to, then would just sell to that market. So there was no competition between markets.’

“Reuters has dispatched about 60 market reporters to the region to report on the going price for, say, oranges or onions, and to package the data into a text message that is sent to subscribers.

“The service is signing up about 220 subscribers a day at a price of 175 rupees, or about $4.10, for three months at post offices throughout Maharashtra. (The average monthly income of a farm household is about $50, according to the Indian government.) The service has about 40,000 customers so far — a tiny portion of India’s farm population, which is in the hundreds of millions, but it proves that many farmers are hungry for more information.”

Read more here.

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