As part of efforts to promote productivity in the agricultural sector, the government in collaboration with the World Bank, and the West Africa Agricultural Production Programme have started piloting the e-Agriculture and extension programme.
The programme being spearheaded by an indigenous company, Prep-eez Limited was working on expanding a free multi-lingual interactive voice response system and audio conferencing and free messaging services.
The service has currently attracted over 40,000 active subscribers and an average daily usage of 2,000 accessing each day on their standard mobile phone with languages, including Twi, Ga, Ewe, Nzema, Dagbani and Frafra.
Mr Kow Sam, Chief Executive Office of Prep-eez Tech Limited said the company was up-scaling the service to cover the entire country in the next couple of months, covering over 11 languages and also executing similar projects in Nigeria, La Cote D’Ivoire and other west African countries.
“The company is also building a multi-lingual call-centre that is toll-free at the Ministry of Food and Agricultural (MoFA) resource centre,” he said.
This, he said, would allow direct access to information in real time from subject matter specialist as well as experts to farmers through standard phones at zero cost to the farmer.
Mr Sam said three e-resource centres are being established in Accra, Kumasi and Tamale to help build ICT agricultural resource, where MoFA staff, extension officers, women and youth in agriculture would learn to build business plans, research and experimentation, cash flow and productivity and performance analysis for effective output.
According to him, a centralized web portal was being developed as a one-stop-shop platform for agricultural related business institutions and research.
“Another component is the private platform of the portal which is linked to a smart phone to measure the productivity of agricultural field agents, disease reporting, feedback, as well as seed stock dissemination and management in the country,” he added.
He said with all these laudable initiative, it would bring together all stakeholders in agriculture to utilize this platform in promoting agriculture in the country.
Currently, MTN was offering over 60 per cent discount to users of this platform to allow them to interact effectively among themselves which is expected to boost agricultural productivity.
Mr Sam said countries like Sierra Leone, Togo, Liberia, Tanzania and Burkina Faso had expressed immense interest in the programme and that the first three countries had already visited Ghana.
Prep-eez is a fully Ghanaian owned communications, content and integration entity specializing in the design and deployment of convergence of mobile, web and PC collaboration platforms.
Prep-eez is developing content over mobile networks for effective communication and technology dissemination throughout Ghana.
The company uses this technology to deliver relevant content to players in the educational, road safety, health and agricultural sectors.