Women Rule: Potato Markets, Cellular Phones and Access to Information in the Bolivian Highlands
Alwang, Jeffrey R.
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In highland Bolivia, potato markets are widespread, and access to market information has entered the digital age. Information networks lubricated by ubiquitous cellular technologies are supplanting traditional means of information-gathering. We explore the impacts of access to cellular phones on market selection, use of social networks to acquire information, and gendered responsibilities within the potato market chain near Cochabamba. The entire family participates in potato production and marketing, but responsibilities are differentiated by gender. Men take a leading role in potato production and women in marketing. Access to cellular phones affects decisions about where to market potatoes and improves the potato marketing process.