Where are the costs associated with using ICT to access inputs or information on inputs? Who finances these costs?
This is an interesting subject. Costs of using ICT are various including the development of the applications, creating information infrastructures and promotion of the service.
Many of these can be shared with a good strategy. There already exists a private sector that is involved in selling inputs eg seed dealers/companies. Partnerships can be buit with such companies.
A lot of donor projects have occurred and the issue of transfer of knowledge from these projects is now widely considered to be critical - with funds being provided for this. Hence, donors and Governments can also play a big part to avail relevant content.
In one of our projects, we did find out that most rural users lacked the knowledge to use data applications on their phones - hence the need for capacity building. I think here, mobile companies can be brought on board.
The cost of building applications can also be shared. It can either be donor funded, or it can be funded through venture capital. The problem with private funding though is that many private companies would not see profits especially where rural poor people are involved.
In brief, most of these costs can be funded through private-public partnerships and this would be good for sustainability and relevance.