Technology empowers Ghana cocoa farmers
from MASAHUDU KUNATEH in Accra, Ghana
ACCRA, (CAJ News) – MORE than 8 000 Ghanaian cocoa farmers are benefiting from CocoaLink, a mobile technology service which delivers timely farming, social and marketing information to cocoa farmers in 15 communities in western Ghana to improve incomes and livelihoods.
Cocoa farmers who subscribe to CocoaLink receive and share practical information via short message service text and voice messages with industry experts and other farmers.
It is available to any Ghanaian with a cell phone, with messages delivered in English or the local language, Twi.
At a handing over ceremony of the CocoaLink service to Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOB), the Chief Party of World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) Africa Cocoa Initiative, Sona Ebai said a three year e-agric pilot programme set up by Hershey Company and World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) had gave birth to the service.
Ebai said the initiative was an innovative approach to help local farmers improves their productivity and livelihood, revealing that COCOBOD would soon set up a call centre to complement the CocoaLink.
This, he said, would enable farmers on the platform to engage in live conversations with agronomy experts on the best ways to improve their yields and livelihood.
Though the establishment of the call centre is still in discussion, the World Bank and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) would see to it implementation, Ebai added.
He strongly believed that with the machine aid interpersonal communication or e-agric, the gap between farmers and community extension officers could be breach, as 370 extension officers serve well over 800 000 farmers.
The Deputy of Chief Executive, Agronomy and Quality Control, COCOBOD, Dr Francis Oppong, noted that the collaboration would go a long way to help farmers, as the limited number of extension officers make it difficult for each farmer to have one-on-one engagement.
For COCOBOD to operate the CocoaLink effectively, WCF and Hershey Company also handed items such as 125 smartphones, 60 solar charges and 30 LED bulbs.
– CAJ News
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