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Free software for managing market information


Peru: woman selling coriander
FAO/17438/A.Odoul

Jordan: fruit stall
FAO/18991/R.Faidutti

Uganda: traditional medicines
FAO/17502/R.Faidutti

India: Madras fish market
FAO/19594/G. Bizzarri


To see more photos, go to the MediaBase

FAO has launched an improved, updated version of its AgriMarket software - a tool designed for the effective management and dissemination of agricultural market information at the national level. AgriMarket 2.0 is for use by ministries or private market information systems collecting and disseminating market data on agricultural and food products at different market levels and locations. The software is free for public institutions but it will also be available for purchase by private companies (price US$ 25).

"Reliable, timely market information - and its dissemination - is key to the creation of efficient markets and for transparency of negotiation between producers, traders and retailers," said FAO Marketing Economist Olivio Argenti, who supervised the development of the software.

With built-in email and internet facilities, AgriMarket 2.0 allows the user to send out price information for a wide range of commodities on a number of different markets, to a wide audience. A ministry can send market information to the specialist press, for instance, post prices on a web-site or email producers' groups.

To an individual producer, access to this information can mean the choice between selling produce at a low price at the farmgate or making the journey to a nearby market where a better price can be obtained.

AgriMarket 2.0 runs either in a stand-alone version or using Microsoft Access. The FAO AgriMarket 2.0 package includes:

  • stand-alone (run-time) version
  • full version (requires Microsoft Access)
  • user's manual
  • online tutorial
  • FAO-AgriMarket demo
  • FAO's technical documentation
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader 4.0 (needed to read the technical documentation)

The software is easy to install, learn and use, with online help and a tutorial. It is completely menu-driven with pull-down menus, pop-ups and dialogue boxes. It has no restrictions on commodities or markets and will do conversions from local to any standard unit of measurement. It enables the user to compile a variety of reports - for instance, showing average prices or total quantities on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, or comparing prices or quantities for the current or previous period. It will also produce graphs in three formats - line, column or bar.

Web-site user support provides free updates, general information, free documentation, and perhaps most important, a problem line to which all official AgriMarket users can subscribe free of charge. The problem line - which will be run as an email list - is new for this version and puts users in contact with each other so that they can discuss common problems and solutions.

12 April 2000

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