The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), has introduced an internet-based platform, called the “e-Agriculture”, for the effective and efficient dissemination of agricultural related information.
The “e-Agriculture” system, financed by the World Bank, under the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP), is a platform which enables agricultural experts, farmers and community members exchange opinions and resources relating to agriculture.
Access to information
Dr. Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan, deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture in charge of Crops who announced this at a sensitisation workshop, held in Accra, also indicated that the “e-Agriculture” system was being considered as a complimentary module to the existing traditional extension services available to farmers.
“The delivery of agricultural information and knowledge services such as market prices, extension services, technology, policies, programmes and projects using the internet and related technologies fall under the definition of e-Agriculture”, he said.
Explaining the current poor access to information by farmers, Mr Alhassan said, about 60 percent of farmers had no access to a reliable source of information on agriculture adding that, “government runs a public extension system, which has a poor track record of reaching small and marginal and marginal farmers”.
The Consultant for the “e-Agriculture” programme Mr Kow Sam, told stakeholders that farmers could access agriculture-based information through a designated portal address.
He also told participants that a “multilingual interactive voice response system” would be installed to enable farmers access information in 11 local languages.
According to Mr Sam, the “e-agricultural” system would synergize data from researchers, farmers, Non-Governmental Organisations and agriculture-based institutions, for the consumption of farmers and other stakeholders.
“We are setting up a call centre where farmers can access information and the website which provides literature on a lot of things related to agriculture and extension services is also available”, he said.
Contribution from subscribers
Mrs Azara Ali-Mamshie, National WAAPP Coordinator said approximately 350,000 subscribers had so far accessed the platform.
“I will particularly urge all key stakeholders along the value chain to take advantage of this opportunity to disseminate improved technologies to their clients to contribute significantly towards sustainable food production”, he said.