Nearly seventy percent of the population of most African countries including Ghana are directly engaged in the production and distributing of food across the continent, as food production, distribution and consumption are perhaps the most important economic activity in Africa there is the urge and need to improving food distribution and marketing systems which could have both economic, health and security implications regionally.
The innovative design, data collection and the onward implementation of user-friendly, less technical and an effective project which involves the use of Information Communications Technological (ICT) tools including mobile phones, specially designed communication platforms for mobile phones and Smartphones which are Global Position Systems (GPS) enabled and infused to assist smallholder farmers in the transportation , marketing and selling of their farm produce at designated food markets across Ghana, Messages through bulk sms alerts are also sent to the mobile phones of subscribed farmers and residents on new agricultural products and services which has been made available by businesses and stakeholders for the benefits of registered farmers of our project.
More people and farmers are now using and have access to mobile phones and local radio stations than ever, whiles these devices and applications are now more accessible by many farmers and residents in Africa and Ghana, there is the need to harnessing these basic yet important technological tools to better serve residents better and with less cost to farmers and high level of efficiency whiles also enhancing the profitability of agriculture produce.
Currently successfully been implemented in Ghana is the e-Agri Transport Network with the mail goal of reducing high post harvest loses among smallholder farmers at catchment communities Ghana, having early access to vehicles to facilitating the early and timely transporting agriculture produce from farms and local communities has been a real challenge to many farmers and the project is effectively addressing that uniquely, also with the expert data gathered by our expert technology volunteers known as citizen volunteers (CV’S) we have access to a network of food markets where subscribed farmers could have readily buyers for their farm produce.
The cost and time involved in the transportation and marketing of agriculture produce including the prevention of preventable post harvest losses have been highly reduced through our project, information on current produce prices and other agriculture information are sent to the mobile phones of subscribed farms at no other cost and timely as this information have proved very useful to many farmers in having alternatives in agriculture related products and services to boost their economic activities, the regular damage to food produce during loading of food produce onto vehicles have been reduced as in is required by all member transporters to reduce damaged to agriculture produce during loading and transporting as the more quality a produce it will have a better price tag thereby enhancing profitability for farmers.
Third World Network of Sciences - ItalyLead applicant
International Science Technology and Innovation Center for the South of UNESCO - MalaysiaInitiative partner
ArrowHead Consulting Limited - GhanaInitiative partner
innovative agriculture systems and process for the rural poor in sub Sahara Africa
This project is made up of a combinations innovative applications and systems to boosting agriculture production and also for the marketing farm produce in Ghana with possible replication in other African countries.
Innovative application of mobile phone application systems including SMS and other messaging Appls is been used for the marketing off agriculture produce and also for loccating real time agriculture market information for targeted crops and food produce in the catchment communities.
This project is also using the citizen volunteer system which involves the use of the local people in the projects catchment communities for data gathering and marketing system , this has proved succesful as the local development goals and needs of the catchment communites have been addressed directly by this project.
Successfully this project has increased the agriculture economic activities in the projects catchment communities in Ghana and hence it has inies to make more money .
This project was design and implemented in Ghana with a focus on farming and agricultural communities in Ghana and other ACP states including Sub Sahara African counntries and publications and document best practices of this proeject have been circulated for the purposes of partner organizaitons in selected countries.
Specifically this project is using Information Communications Technologies to innovatively transporting and marketing agriculture produce and also our e-commerce agricultural platform is assisting farmers in selling agriculture produce and also aiding farmers in the locating right food markets in Ghana for their produce at less cost to the farmers and other stakholders in the farming communities.
Project beneficiaries and smallholder farmers who are the direct beneficiaries have been trained and tought how to use very basic yest user friendly ICT'S so this project has impacted the transfer of skills to farmers.
Our project has been welcomed and accepted by all .
The problem of locating and finding suitable buyers for selected farm produce including farm animals have greatly solved by the project, farmers have prior information on markets in demand for their produce from producing centers across districts with good market prices for their produce hence bring some happiness and much needed income to farmers and increasing the economic situations of the local communities and thereby creating employment opportunities.
It has been evident during our projects implementation and replication in catchment communities across beneficial regions in Ghana that farmers who tend to joint associations and forms groups tends to derive benefits including better negotiation on transport cost for members of the associations and also getting corporate buyers for their farm produce which is good for them as it prevents high post harvest losses as they get ready buyers for their produce as most of these farmers to not have adequate storage facilities .
The real project beneficiaries are smallholder farmers in Ghana and other Sub Sahara African countiries including targeted African and other ACP states.
Our project is also benefiting fresh graduates in catchment communities as it has enable fresh graduates to find employment whiles other who are not on full time employment have had the opportunity to make much needed extra money through our innovative application of ICT applications and tools in the marketing and selling agricuture and farming produce .
Young adults in the projects catchment communities have also been permanently and partly been employed by this project and hence has reduced unemployment greatly in the projects catchment communities and this positive impacts of our project has been visible in many farming communities in Ghana .
We have also been working with key government agencies including the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and also the Youth and Employment Ministry of Ghana.
The project has been purely performed by the staff of the Foresight Generatio Club which is a non governmental organization who are working in the agribusiness sector in Ghana and have skilled and expert personnel in the deployment of innovative ICT tools in boosting agriculture production and enhancing the participation of smallholder farmers in the sustainable agro value chain programs in Ghana and other African countries.
Also local citizens in the project catchment communities have also been employed by this project as it has been very useful in working with citizens of the beneficiary communties for the purposes of data collection and also on our advocacy projects.
During the project implementation at the data gathering and information a total 15 project team members have been used including three volunteer staff at different towns and locations across Ghana.
The project staff included administrative staff for data entry activities, accounts and communications .
Our first challenge that we had encountered had been the lack of access to tools , logistics and the required data gathering equipment including basic stationary to enable our work to start after we completed the feasibility for the commence of this project.
There was also the problem with our lack of funding for the commencment of the project and also to successfully sustain the project for a specified projected time frame as this innitially hampered our acquistion of some equipment and also prevented us innitially of recruiting the much needed personnel for the project .
However we came out strong to overcoming these innitial setbacks and these including building strategic partnerships with targeted organizations and firms in our projects catchment communities to enable us to use some of their staff and office equipment for our activities in those catchment communities and we have profited from this partnership arrangement.
The use of interns and volunteers have enable us to recruit.
Environmental protection and being climate friendly was one of the main interest of the project during its design and its implementation.
Our goal has been to including key climate and environment priendly practices in our projects code of conducts for beneficialry smallholders farmers, all farmers who have been involved in our projects have signed not to be cutting trees nearer to rivers and water bodies located near their farms .
This project have educated benefiiaries communities the importance and benfits of the bigger trees near the rivers and water bodies and the importance of the vegetative cover such trees provide for their farms and the needed weather conditions to support their farming activites.
Also our tree planting project call the "One Tree - One Man" have proved very successful in our projects catchments communites and we have grown many new trees with the support of the farmers.
Proper disposal of e-waste is a key component of our project and education on it .
The successful rate of the project have really enabled us to replicate the project in many other interested farming communites across Ghana and we are happy to also mention that there are interest from other African countries for the project to also be replicated in those countries too and we think this is good in the long term.
Our innovative systems and practices that have been employed by our project is currently ongoing in our catchment communities and more young adults in the projects catchment communities are now employed thanks to this project.
This project has also transfered key skills to the catchment and replicating communities as we have pre-trained young adults and fresh graduates from the catchment communities in key data gathering skills and also useful information communications technology use in project management for the benefits of them and their communities.
Environmental education and our tree planting project will benefits these communities in the long term .
The use of Information Communciation Technologies for boosting agriculture in Africa is new and it is not an easy project hence we have push and worked much on this project on the belief of our skills and motivation for the success of the project.
All implementation practices and steps have been desgned after we sent project teams to targeted catchment communities to study the problems and challenges in those specific communities hence this project has been desgined originally for those implementating catchment communities.
Our innitial collaborative efforts to partner with Local FM Radio stations was a bigger challenge as they were less confidence of the success of the targeted goals of our project however we were able to convince them eventhough such a project as wholly new to them however we have achieve really success and measurable results in the catchment farming and agricultural communities even to their surprise, hence our project is really new and innovative with success.