Africa’s First Farmers Helpline Launched In Ghana

Africa’s First Farmers Helpline Launched In Ghana

Farmers in Ghana are getting a little help. Private organization Esoko Ghana has set up to drive social and economic impact among rural farmers through the innovative use of technology. And it has launched Africa’s first helpline for farmers in the country, reports Business Ghana.

A group of agricultural experts answer the farmers’ questions, ranging from the weather prediction to farming practices to food market prices.

Mary Naah, Helpline Services Manager, said the call center is available in 12 local languages: Dagbani, Mampruli, Twi, Kusaal, Frafra, Sissali, Wali, Ewe, Ga, Fante,Hausa and Dagaari.

She said the Esoko Ghana farmers’ helpline 1900 was available on Vodafone, MTN and Airtel, at a regular call rate, adding that Tigo and Glo networks would be added soon.

She said the centre which operated from Mondays to Fridays between 8am to 5pm, had been equipped with people with agricultural background, in order to give expert advice to farmers who call.

She noted that there had been a lot of innovations in farming across the globe, and that the helpline services were to enable the farmers understand and make use of such best farming practices.

She bemoaned the lack of enough extension officers in farming communities adding that the work of Esoko call centre was to complement the efforts of such extension officers.

She intimated that Esoko Ghana had also put in place the needed measures to monitor the impact of the call centre’s work on the farmers who patronize it.

Mr Mark Davies, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Esoko, said since 2005, the company had grown to be the leading initiative in delivering market information to farmers across Africa, operating in eight countries, employing over 200 people and increasing farmers income by 10 percent.

“Esoko is an example of how the public sector can participate and encourage private sector innovation and investment to drive food security and improve livelihoods”.

He said it was also an example of how Ghanaian software developers could build world class technology that could be used throughout the continent of Africa.

He intimated that it was also established to provide solutions which were needed in the agri-business industry in Africa, and also introduce technology that was appropriate and relevant to the clients.

Mr Jim Beaver, Mission Director, USAID Ghana, which is a partner of Esoko Ghana, expressed his appreciation to the company for the initiative, as it would go a long way to assist farmers in the country improve on their farming knowledge.

Esoko is currently operating in Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Malawi, Mozambique, Madagascar, and Zimbabwe and recently in Kenya.