Cocoa farmers connect via mobile

A new cocoa farmer outreach programme that connects the farming community via mobiles is expected to reach 100 000 Ghanaians within the next three years.

The programme, CocoaLink, uses mobile phones to connect cocoa farmers across Ghana to each-other, and to deliver information of use to them. It delivers agricultural and social information and allows farmers to interact and share information.

The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) says the project was launched in partnership with Hershey and the World Cocoa Foundation in March this year. It now has over 1500 users and aims to grow that number to 8 000 by next year and 100 000 by 2014. Ghana is reported to have over 700 000 cocoa farmers and mobile coverage across most of the country.

CocoaLink uses voice and SMS text messages delivered in local languages (Twi) and English to connect cocoa farmers with useful information about improving farming practices, farm safety, child labour, health, crop disease prevention, post-harvest management practices and produce marketing – all at no charge.

Farmers will also be able to share information and receive answers to specific questions relating to their cocoa farming livelihoods with experts at the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG).

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