In a bid to improve general agricultural practices through the use of mobile technology, Farmerline has been holding a series of workshops for Farmers, Leaders of Farmer Based Organizations (FBO) and agricultural extension officer as part of the “Apps4Ag Learning Opportunities” programme. This program is an initiative of the ACP-EU Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Co-operation.
The Farmerline team has been crisscrossing the country over the past few months. The first training session took place on the 30th July in Asesewa in the Upper Manya District in the Eastern Region. The Team followed it up with another session on the 31st of July at the social Welfare Centre in the La-Nkwantanang Madina Municipality. This two-day session saw the Farmerline Team take 81 Participants comprising 50 farmers and leaders of Farmer Based Organizations, 14 Agricultural Extension Agents of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and 17 field workers. The Farmers and FBO’s were trained on Farmerline’s voice messaging platform which involved taking them through how to receive voice calls on the weather, Agronomic Practices (GAPs) and general messages. The participants were also taken through how they would interpret the information received and how to implement its contents.
The group of Agricultural field workers and extension officers were educated on how to use Farmer’s web platform technology to send bulk voice calls to recipients. They were also trained on how to use the mobile application and web platform to collect data for improved project monitoring and evaluation. The enthusiasm of the participants was evident as they all eagerly tried out the technology to gauge its possible impact on their activities.
On the 5th and 6th of August, the Farmerline team was in Wa in the Upper West Region of Ghana. Over the two days, Farmerline organized workshops for Smallholder farmers and Agric field workers from NGO’s working with farming groups in the Upper West Region. The farmers were the first to go through the training workshop. Farmerline took them through the voice messaging platform and sent out sample voice messages for the farmers to get a firsthand feel of what the service entailed. The farmers received voice messages in Waali, the principal language of the local farmers and they were taken through the processes of receiving the information and also using the information to adequately improve their farming activities.
Next to take their turn at the workshop were the Agric officers in the region. This group comprised mostly of individuals who work with NGO’s to improve agriculture within the Northern Regions. Their training session was held at the Jam Guest House in Wa on the 6th of August. There were 20 participants and they were firstly taken through Farmerline’s technology platform and features of the main dashboard. This involved the whole process from logging on and creating an account, adding subscribers to the group, uploading messages and scheduling the time the uploaded messages would be sent. The Agric officers were given the chance to go through the process by themselves and this afforded them the hands-on experience that helps them to effectively use the platform. The officers were also introduced to the Mergdata Web Platform and Android Application. This session focused on the Survey feature which allows them to effectively collect data for effective evaluation.
The team has also taken the workshops to Zinindo and Gushegu in the northern Region, Nkrantwanta, Dormaa Ahenkro & Duayaw Nkwanta in the Brong Ahafo Region where fish farmers were trained, Obuasi, Domeabra & Fomena in the Ashanti Region and Bongo, Namoo and Feo all in the Upper East Region. The conscious effort to go to all these places was to make sure that the technology is made available to as many people as possible. The workshops have received commendation from various participants who have lauded the initiative and thanked the organizers for the programme. Mr Kwame Yussif, Agric Extension Officer, Dormaa Ahenkro said “It is a good experience to be exposed to this platform. This will go a long way to improve my work”