Letter of the Day | Mobile money modern answer to farmer receipts
THE EDITOR, Sir:
In a desperate effort to minimise, if not eliminate, praedial larceny - a plague on farmers - the administration of a previous minister of agriculture introduced the farmers' receipt book. The thinking was that if all farmers and purchasers of produce/livestock cooperated with this concept, those who prey on our farmers would have difficulty explaining their cargo when intercepted by police.
Nothing is wrong with the intent, but today's technology has taken us far beyond the receipt book with its innate weaknesses. For if 25 per cent of motor vehicles travel with fraudulent insurance documents today, how well will a hand-written receipt hold up against the guile of the criminal minds and scammers in Jamaica.
With the introduction of mobile money bank accounts, and the ubiquitous cell phone - empowered with its camera and Internet accessibility - this whole process can easily be automated if the parties were made to open mobile money accounts.
Thereafter, payments by the purchasers of the livestock or produce will be electronically 'receipted' when the electronic mobile money payment is made by the purchaser to the farmer.
This electronic receipt would be presented to the police, upon request, which can be validated by the police, online and in real time, using a similar smartphone. This 'receipting' subsystem could be so programmed, with minimal effort, to also store the picture of the produce or livestock.
ACCESS TO DATABASES
Further, the smartphone carried by the police could access disparate databases, through a single app, to garner up-to-date information on vehicle and driver during or before approaching a driver/vehicle. This way, we empower our police and can make a significant impact on crime. Name, licence number and TRN are all powerful keys for searching multiple disparate databases in seconds.
To the authorities, I say, there are many technology companies in Jamaica with the competency to execute and deliver these initiatives. Please do not seek the answers abroad or 'interrogate' local companies or individuals for a blueprint, then put our ideas to tender so others may unduly benefit.
And to the Bank of Jamaica, I say, a maximum daily spend of less than $100,000 for mobile money would not facilitate this initiative. Examine the value of two cows.
CEO and Chairman
Advanced Integrated Systems Limited