Reuters Market Light: Creating Efficient Markets
Reuters Market Light (RML), a business incubated by Thomson Reuters, is a pioneering mobile phone-based agri information service provider. The service is designed to provide farmers with personalised timely and actionable agricultural information from pre-sowing to post-harvest stages through SMS on their mobile phones in their local language.
Reuters Market Light is the first highly personalised information service for farmers that is directly impacting their lives. It is delivered via SMS. Farmers in India are highly dependent on the middlemen and a patchy network of ad-hoc information sources such as local shop keepers who leverage the information asymmetry in the system to earn higher profits at the cost of the individual farmers. Addressing this aspect, RML delivers customised, localised and personalised weather forecasts, local crop prices, agricultural news and relevant information to them.
The service started as a business in October 2007 with the launch in the state of Maharashtra. Since then they have gone to 13 states in India and are present in southern India and West Bengal as well. They offer information of around 1300 different markets, 450 different crop types and weather forecast from 2500 locations. The subscription fee is of Rs. 200 per quarter. With this service, individual farmers gained up to INR 200,000 ($ 4000) of additional profits, and savings of nearly INR 400,000 ($8000), marking a significant return on their investment .
World Bank also conducted a study in 2010, indicating that 8% increase in price realization to RML farmers who directly sold to traders. RML users observed an increase in their income by 5-25%. Reuters Market Light has created a distribution network of information cards. Their second priority is to include and add the breadth and depth of content like wind information and electricity information.