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
Benin to increase ICT expenditure in 2015Ranked 23rd in Africa and 149th globally by the 2014 ITU ICT Index, Benin wants to repair its image of being a weak ICT spender carrying one of the continent’s less developed ICT sectors. Read More
Senegal govt, AfDB to build US$120 million digital parkThe Senegalese government and the African Development Bank (AfDB) will join forces to put aside about US$20 million and US$100 million, respectively, to build a mega-digital park in the city of Diamniadio. Read More
Govt confirms NATCOM’s $252m Nitel/Mtel purchaseThe Federal Government of Nigeria has confirmed the sale of former state-run but now moribund telco, the Nigerian Telecommunication (Nitel) and its mobile arm, Mtel to NATCOM Consortium for $252 million. Read More
Angola takes science and technology roadshow to schoolsAngola’s Minister of Science and Technology has hailed a programme carried out this year to increase school learners’ understanding of science, technology and innovation. Read More
Senegal to issue smart ID, voter’s cardsThe government of Senegal is planning to issue new smart ID documents and voter’s cards, a project it said will strengthen the administration and fight identity theft. Read More
MTN, Orange, Cameroon govt launch Mobile Tax serviceThe Cameroonian government has launched a new tax service called Mobile Tax, in association with mobile operators MTN and Orange. Read More
BTCL IPO date reset againThe embattled BTCL IPO launch date has not seen the last of its changes yet. Read More
Botswana tops Africa Prosperity ReportBotswana tops the 2014 Africa Prosperity Report, as the continent enjoys unprecedented economic upturn, but Africa faces new challenges in gender gap and personal freedom. Read More
Mali Digital Plan 2020 to reorganise economyThe coordinator of Mali’s proposed ICT development strategy believes digital technologies have the potential to revolutionise people’s lifestyle and working relationships, boost culture and improve education, among others. Read More
FEATURED STORYPWC: Optimism abounds but a bumpy journey ahead for some
PwC’s ‘Capital Projects & infrastructure in East Africa, Southern Africa and West Africa,’ report says infrastructure spend in the region is projected to reach $180bn per annum by 2025.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHAfrica lags on digital migration
Only three African countries have so far completed the digital migration process, and serious issues are hampering the migration in other nations.