Eastern Corridor Agro-Market Project- Ghana
Social Enterprise Development Foundation of West Africa SEND
on the ground project
Farmers, 48 Cooperative Groups
Database, Internet, Mobile telephones
The Eastern Corridor Agro-Market Information Centre (ECAMIC) project focuses on supporting 24 cooperative farmer communities with around 15.000 members in the Eastern Corridor. Price Information collected at the local district markets is combined with relevant other agriculture information at the ECAMIC office and distributed to district offices through e-mail. Cooperative Information Officers in these district offices use motorcycles to distribute the information to the farmer communities. The officers write the price information on a notice board and explain the other information in face-to-face meetings with community leaders. But more and more farmers are now using mobile phones to receive SMS alerts of district market prices or they request by SMS prices of their produce from various market centres. The ECAMIC project uses the Esoka Platform (formerly known as TradeNet Platform, a trading platform using internet and mobile phones) for this. This platform is also used to send offers to sell produce, but the challenge now for farmers is to meet the demand of buyers in terms of stating the quantity (weighing their produce) coupled with a guaranteed quality. The ECAMIC project started in 2003 and is run by the Social Enterprise Foundation of West Africa (SEND).
Farmers in isolated rural areas in Northern Ghana are often found to be unaware of the value of their crops in main markets. They find themselves in a poor negotiating position with middlemen, who routinely under-represent the final selling price and overstate transaction costs. The same holds for the price of seeds, fertiliser and other inputs, with farmers paying an inflated price for inputs. Farmers may also be unaware of strategic opportunities within their own region: which crops and commodities are fetching higher prices in surrounding towns; which products are in high demand, and so on. Getting accurate and up- to-date price information to farmers, therefore, can have a dramatic impact on their negotiating position in the agricultural economy and on their cash income.
Read more about IICD’s Ghana Country Programme.
Market Information Centres are established at the headquarters in Tamale, and in Kpandai , Salaga and Chamba district.
Capacity of cooperative representatives leaders in basic ICT skills has been built.
Facilitation of Procurement and Distribution of 200 Cellular phones to farm-families
Training of 300 farm-family members in the efficient use of Cellular phones to transact agro businesses.
Partner with Tradenet for information dissemination to farmer cooperatives through their mobile phones
ECAMIC has become a member of Esoka/Tradenet – a trading platform using internet and mobile phones
A total of 180 farmers were trained and now using the mobile phone to enhance their market negotiation.
Installed 10 information notice boards in the communities
Training for Co-operative Information Officers in database management
Purchased Camcorder and digital camera for documenting( pictures and videos) of field activities
- 5 solar chargers are tested sucessfully by farmers cooperatives
- Trainer-of-trainer workshop to enhance knowledge on the use of mobile phone for 32 farmers who will train their cooperative members
From November 1st 2007 the second phase is started with the following objectives:
- To access over 2000 small-scale food crop producers to a timely, accurate and concise agricultural market information so that they can make informed judgement on the marketing of their crops; specific crops to be covered include: soybean, pepper, okro, maize, cassava, beans and groundnut;
- To access small-scale food crop producers through their community based farmers cooperatives to information on essential farm inputs (agro-chemicals, improved seed, farm-implements), health (nutrition, reproductive health, HIV/AIDS) and relevant government policies;
- To develop the capacity of individual farmers (and in groups) to use mobile phones and internet facilities to carry out agro-market transactions (upload prices, receive price offers, make offers/bids, follow-up market negotiations, etc.) in a much faster and economical manner;
- To develop the capacities of farmer-cooperatives to be effective and efficient in information down-streaming and utilisation to their members through building their institutional capacities.
The provision of accurate and timely market information to farmers in the Eastern Corridor has enhanced their negotiations and marketing decisions concerning the sale of their produce. This is because farmers are now equipped with market information on the price of various produce in the cities or towns before they sell to buyers. Also, farmers are provided with information on farm inputs to enable them manage their farms and take good care of their produce. It also helps farmers to make good decisions on the type of crop to store as grain banks.
Read more about IICD’s approach towards Livelihoods.
Interview with Shafiu Shaibu
The women members appear to be benefiting more from the decision to allow literate/semi-literate representative be nominated to attend trainings that require some level of formal education.
- CT and Market Access are good bedfellows when the right balance is found. Without a good means of dissemination, the most qualitative agricultural market information is useless since it cannot get to the desired users. Notwithstanding the difficulty, it is necessary to achieve a balance between type of ICT tool to deploy and its sustainability. The decision to invest in a satelite connection at the initial stage of the project did not come with ease as the decision to discontinue its usage in the wake of new and more affordable tools
- For farmers the learning point was to always crosscheck the status of information with the aid of the market agents before taking decisive decision to supply to a given market. This lesson is being shared with farmers in other communities
The Social Enterprise Development Foundation of West Africa (SEND Foundation) is a West Africa based non-governmental organisation with its head office located in Accra, Ghana. Presently SEND Foundation operates in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ghana. SEND Foundation aims to enable sustainable development of emerging businesses. This is done by providing holistic education and training in the areas of organizational capacity and social awareness. The ECAMIC project is run from the office in Tamale, Ghana.
Interview with Mumuni Mohammed
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