Ghana forging ahead with e-agriculture
GOVERNMENT| July 7, 2014, 7:19 a.m.
By Issa Sikiti da Silva in Accra, Ghana
Since launching an internet-based platform in February this year to enable agricultural experts, farmers and community members to exchange opinions and resources, the Ghana government has been forging ahead in its quest to digitise the sector, which constitutes the backbone of the economy.
Almost every month, an e-agriculture initiative is being brought in to speed up the process and disseminate digital knowledge that would probably enhance the sector's productivity.
Just recently, the country conducted nationwide tests of an e-agriculture project to help famers get to grip with technology. At least 35 000 farmers with access to smart phones with in-built voicemail in six local languages subscribed to the platform.
Last week at the African Union summit, African leaders have vowed to 'transform' the continent's agriculture sector by committing to spend at least 10% of their national budgets on the sector.
Annually, Ghana allocates just under 10% of its national budget to the sector, which experts said is very low.
"We have the land but we are lacking the resources and expertise," small scale farmer Grace Sarpong told Biztechafrica in the capital Accra.
"I heard on radio and saw on TV how technology can help improve and transform agriculture, and I wish the government can speed up the process of implementing this e-agriculture nationwide as soon as possible," she added.
"We have been relying too much and for too long on traditional methods of farming. Our productivity is not moving forward year in year out, and we experience serious difficulties in accessing reliable information," another small scale farmer, Cecilia Arimah said emotionally.
Women are the key actors in Ghanaian agriculture, constituting over half the agricultural labour force and producing 70% of the country’s food, according to the 2011 Curtis Research report.
The government has acknowledged that about 60% of Ghana famers were facing problems to access reliable information on agriculture, but said farmers could now access agriculture-based information through a designated portal address equipped with a multilingual interactive voice response system.
MORE GOVERNMENT NEWS
ComTech minister: Appropriate legislation critical to telecom sector growthNigeria’s Communications Technology Minister Adebayo Shittu, has said appropriate laws will be made to guarantee the consolidation of the gains of the telecoms industry. Read More
Water utilities to introduce USSD serviceBotswana’s Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) will soon officially launch a service using Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), for its customers throughout the country. Read More
Scatec Solar secures 100 MW Solar Project in NigeriaScatec Solar has signed an agreement with CDIL, a Canadian renewable energy development company focused on Africa, and BPS, a Nigerian strategic consulting firm, securing the 100 MW (DC) Nova Scotia Power plant located in Jigawa State, Nigeria. Read More
Tackling cybercrime requires new skills, says ministerNigeria's ComTech Minister, Adebayo Shittu, says new skills are needed to address the global threat of cybercrime. Read More
Unsolicited SMS: We’ve given subscribers choice, says NCCNigeria’s telecoms sector regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says it has given subscribers the power to choose between receiving unsolicited messages or not through the enforcement of the DND code on the telcos. Read More
NITDA seeks NCC collaboration for 50% GDP growthThe acting Director-General of Nigeria’s NITDA is seeking the collaboration of the NCC to develop the country’s ICT industry to enable it to contribute about 50 per cent to the nation’s GDP. Read More
Amosun, Danbatta settle disputes over 47 BTS shut in OgunThe outstanding issues which have kept 47 base transmission stations (BTS) under lock and key in Ogun State have been successfully resolved by the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof Umar Garba Danbatta. Read More
ComTech Minister: NITDA recruitment fraudulentNigeria’s Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu, has described the last recruitment exercise at the Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) fraudulent as it did not follow due process. Read More
Buhari advised on national addressing systemNigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has been advised to establish a national addressing system in the country to check the crime rate in the country. Read More
FEATURED STORYFinancial services sees AI as both opportunity and threat
Banking is already a key area where technology is having an impact throughout Africa, and a new survey assesses the impact artificial intelligence will have on this sector.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHAccess and Use of ICT stats released
Statistics Botswana has released the first results of the 2014 Information and Communication Technology Household Survey.