Tyler Reynolds

Dr Tyler Jay Reynolds

Postgraduate Research Student
+44 (0)1483 689559
23 BA 02

Academic and research departments

Centre for Environment and Sustainability.


This study investigates the role of mobile phones in the livelihood development of farmers in the Ashanti and Brong-Ahafo Regions, Ghana. It seeks to uncover how farmers use their mobile phones and the outcomes associated with that use, as well as the factors that make mobile phones more or less useful. In order to answer these questions, a grounded theory approach was carried out using both qualitative interviews (n=48) followed by a manual content analysis, and a quantitative questionnaire (n=160) that provided for a statistical analysis of 4 communities in the Ashanti region and 4 communities in the Brong-Ahafo Region, Ghana. In doing so it was possible to identify critical challenges within important aspects of the production process and evaluate the use and usefulness of mobile phones in addressing these challenges. Findings show that mobile phones were generally useful for sending and receiving financial capital, seeking information on pesticides and fertilizers, organising farm labour, and searching for yam sale pricing information when carrying out temporal sales arbitrage. Mobile phones were seen as somewhat useful for liaising with extension officers and less useful for the critical processes of obtaining subsidized fertilizer. It was also found that individuals carry out the processes of transferring money, organising labour, and obtaining yam sale pricing information using combinations strategies defined as: (1) heavily focused on the use of the phone, (2) selective use of the phone, and (3) not making use of the phone. Individuals implementing strategies heavily focused on mobile phone use tended to have smaller farms and lower monthly incomes when compared to individuals employing alternative combinations of strategies. According to these results and subsequent theory building, this research presents a framework for the ICT related capital required for ICT related strategies to be carried out, as well as the external structural barriers occurring in the study area, and resulting in a failure to translate the use of mobile phone within strategies and processes into larger outcomes. While the study group as a whole is experiencing a progressive trend of decreased vulnerability and positive livelihood development, the widespread and complex use of the mobile phone has not resulted in a transformation of livelihood outcomes.