The World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic in March 2020.1 Subsequently, a range of restrictions were put in place to control the spread of the virus. These included restrictions on travel within and across borders, marketplace and facility closures, limits on group gatherings, mask mandates, and curfews. As a result of these safety measures, agricultural markets across the globe experienced unprecedented disruption at every stage of the agriculture value chain, including pre-production, production, and postproduction, which have had wide-ranging impacts on agriculture market actors, reducing their ability to access inputs, aggregate produce, and/or sell at markets. Women have been especially impacted due to an increase in additional unpaid household duties (e.g., homeschooling, caring for sick family members).

In response to such disruptions, digital transformation, defined by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as “the rapid development and adoption of digital technology [that] are transforming industries, governments, economies, and societies,” is accelerating and driving the adoption of digital tools, services, and technologies. Within the agriculture market system, actors—from farmers and input providers to retailers and exporters—are also incorporating digital solutions into their daily operations. While digital transformation comes with the promise of positive outcomes, such as efficiency, cost savings, convenience, and increased safety of remote transactions, it also brings barriers and risks that could negatively affect the adoption of digital solutions, such as cyber threats, cyberbullying, fraud, or exclusion of marginalized populations that are unable to access and use these digital solutions.