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
CAK approves thin SIM technology in KenyaCommunications Authority of Kenya (CA) has licensed three Application Service Providers to offer Mobile Virtual Networks Operators services, who propose Tto use this mobile platform to provide various application services, including mobile money transfer. Read More
Uganda installs floods surveillance system in Mt. ElgonUganda has installed a Floods Early Warning System to mitigate the floods and landslides which have claimed scores of lives in the Eastern region, particularly in areas bordering Mount Elgon. Read More
SAP innovation transforms how Governments conduct businessSAP Africa kicked off its public sector innovation roadshow in Johannesburg, to highlight how the SAP innovation solutions portfolio including, cloud and big data, supports all levels of government. Read More
ATCON roots for spectrum marketATCON has urged the Nigerian Communications Commission to enable the creation of a “spectrum market” where the scarce airwaves could be bought and sold. Read More
MACRA cautioned as court okays ‘Spy Machine’Three days after the Supreme Court of Appeal in Blantyre ruled that Malawi Communication Regulatory Authority (MACRA) can roll out the Consolidated ICT Regulatory Management System (CIRMS) which is popularly known as ‘the Spy Machine’, the country's consumer rights body has cautioned the regulator on the use of the ... Read More
Fake NIN enrolment agents on prowl, warns NIMCNigeria’s National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has raised the alarm over reports making the rounds that eligible applicants must pay certain sums of money before they could enroll for the National Identification Number (NIN). Read More
ICT-enabled census to make a difference in DRCDRC’s first census in 30 years will be supported by ICTs to ensure a fast and faultless process. Read More
NCS tasks govt on R&D fundingThe Nigeria Computer Society has urged the Federal Government to increase funding of R&D. Read More
Policy Interventions can eliminate operational barriers - MascomMascom Marketing and Public Relations Executive Tebogo Lebotse-Sebego says the creation of an enabling legislature and policy interventions can help Botswana overcome its ICT obstacles. Read More
DRC Police to launch digital call centreIn October this year, the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will launch a digital call centre equipped with computers, fast internet and other latest technology tools to enable the police to respond timely and effectively to any kind of distress calls by the people. Read More
FEATURED STORYMFarmer SMS redefines market access for Ugandan farmers
Ugandan smallholder farmers are benefitting from an ambitious innovative ICT mobile phone initiative that offers weather reports and up-to-date market information about changes in prices for agricultural commodities, thus granting them lucrative returns from their farming ventures.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHNIG President speaks his mind
Bayo Banjo, CEO, Disc Communications and President, Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) says the proposed licensing of infrastructure companies by the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) will breed corruption and entrench monopolistic practices. Kokumo Goodie reports.