Farmerline launches new CocoaLink Service: A free mobile app that puts the power of mobile technology in farmers’ hands

  • Mobile application builds on success of CocoaLink’s voice messaging service
  • New service focuses on empowering next generation of farmers
  • Partnership with The Hershey Company will help youth to build and grow successful farm businesses in the cocoa sector

The combination of an aging farmer population, limited access to extension services and lack of professionalization continues to pose challenges to the sustainable future of cocoa farming in West Africa. There is a general lack of interest in farming among the youth who see no future in cocoa farming as a business due to lack of inspiring role models and coaching; limited access to training, inputs and finance; and a lack of requisite farming knowledge. This results in migration to urban areas in search of limited jobs. At the same time, mobile penetration in Ghana is very high, driving digital transformation and posing significant opportunity for accelerating change in the cocoa sector and agriculture in general. Almost half of Ghana’s population has mobile internet access, the second highest rate in West Africa, and young people across the country, and in rural areas, are increasingly going online to play games and use apps like Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. To respond to this challenge and opportunity, Farmerline, in partnership with The Hershey Company (Hershey), has launched a new service for CocoaLink: a simple application that enables smartphone-empowered farmers to acquire actionable knowledge on how to run a profitable agribusiness and succeed as an entrepreneur. CocoaLink allows customized support during a longer period of time and upscaling to reach critical masses. The CocoaLink mobile app features weather information and free courses and quizzes on climate smart agriculture and income diversification. It also features access to finance, discounts on agro-inputs and social media linkages. Content has been integrated through partners such as World Cocoa Foundation’s industry-recognized Climate Smart Cocoa program. While piloting CocoaLink with android users, the Farmerline team received increasing demand for the app from non-android users. This led to the development of an AI powered Farm Assistant built on top of Facebook Messenger to serve non-android users. The users on this platform can now access an abridged version of CocoaLink through the bot. Upon typing “Farm Assistant Bot” in their Messenger application, Facebook users can ask questions as well as access selected articles and quizzes to learn more about profitable farming. “Africa has the youngest population in the world and her youth are poised to create wealth for themselves and their communities. CocoaLink will help this smartphone-empowered generation to make money through agribusinesses and in particular cocoa production,” said Farmerline’s CEO, Alloysius Attah. CocoaLink originally consisted of only a voice messaging service, launched several years ago by Hershey, Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and the World Cocoa Foundation, which enables farmers with basic-feature phones to continue to receive regular agricultural tips in their local language. The new mobile app service has been ideated and funded by Hershey, in partnership with Farmerline. Hershey believes that in order to elevate youth, barriers to information and knowledge need to be lowered and ways of engagement need to be more customized to the target group. This thinking is reflected in Hershey’s recently launched strategy, Cocoa for Good. Recognizing the need to show youth that farming can be entrepreneurial and profitable, Farmerline and Hershey collaborated to develop and pilot the new application with Hershey’s growers in Ghana. “Youth play a critical role in the future of cocoa farming, and we need to give them the tools and training they need to succeed. Farmerline, as our local partner, has brought CocoaLink to the growing number of smartphone users to give in-depth and customized content and support to today’s and the next generation of cocoa farmers,” said Jeff King, Hershey’s Senior Director CSR, Social Innovation & Sustainability.

About Farmerline

Established in 2013, Farmerline is a global and award winning social enterprise that leverages modern technology and data to connect small-scale farmers to vital services and information that increase profit. The fast growing company provides information, resources, and financial services directly to farmers through innovative mobile technology. Farmerline has a proprietary software platform called Mergdata that offers decentralized traceability, certification audit, farm mapping, farmer education, and analytics solutions to help organizations that work with farmers achieve their sustainability and food security goals efficiently. This technology has collected insights from over 200,000 farmers across 11 countries, mapped over 700,000 acres of land, and farmers have spent over 300,000 minutes learning best practices on the platform. In 2018, the company has been named by Fast Company as Africa’s second most innovative company.

About The Hershey Company

The Hershey Company, headquartered in Hershey, Pa., is a global confectionery company known for bringing goodness to the world through its chocolate, sweets, mints and other great-tasting snacks. Hershey has approximately 17,000 employees around the world who work every day to deliver delicious, quality products. The company has more than 80 brands around the world that drive more than $7.5 billion in annual revenues, including such iconic brand names as Hershey’s, Reese’s, Hershey’s Kisses, Jolly Rancher and Ice Breakers. Building on its core business, Hershey is expanding its portfolio to include a broader range of delicious snacks. At Hershey, goodness has always been about more than delicious products. For more than 120 years, Hershey has been committed to operating fairly, ethically and sustainably. Hershey founder, Milton Hershey, created the Milton Hershey School in 1909 and since then the company has focused on giving underserved children the skills and support they need to be successful. Today, the company continues this social purpose through ‘Nourishing Minds,’ a global initiative that provides basic nutrition to help children learn and grow. To learn more Visit the Hershey company website.

Farmerline’s Schandorf Bright Adu selected for OFID Scholarship for One Young World Summit 2017

Farmerline’s Director of Farmer Services, Schandorf Bright Adu, been selected for the OFID Scholarship to attend the upcoming One Young World Summit 2017 in Bogota, Colombia (4-7 October).

Schandorf joins passionate young leaders from 196 countries who will descend on Bogotá for the summit, which brings together the most valuable young talent from global and national companies, NGOs, universities and other forward-thinking organisations.

With recognised leaders of integrity like former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus lending their global stature to the delegate’s views as well as inspiring them to create positive change, Schandorf will play an active role in debating, formulating and sharing innovative solutions for the pressing issues that the world faces.

Having demonstrated leadership and affecting positive change through Farmerline’s farmer workshops and agent training in rural communities, Schandorf pointed out that it is an honour for One Young World to recognize Farmerline’s work with smallholder farmers in Africa.

“Getting an opportunity to network with leading experts in my field is always great. With Farmerline at a critical stage of its growth, where we are seeking to scale up operations to penetrate new markets and to improve the standards of living for farmers across the developing world, this summit will help us learn innovative solutions to global issues.”

Farmerline’s Schandorf Adu Bright delivers insecticide to Dwomoh Kwasi Christopher at his cocoa farm in Kyekyewere, Assin South District, Ghana. Farmerline has started distributing farming implements like insecticide and fertiliser to farmers at subsidised rates alongside providing farming tips through their Mergdata service.

Schandorf also clarified that while Farmerline’s Mergdata technology is already scalable and globally applicable, there are certain legal and cultural nuances in each regional market that Farmerline must understand to create the most effective product.

“Connecting with delegates that are experts in this field will be incredibly helpful in expediting this process. It will allow us to reach more investors and help us identify and form partnerships with other organizations in our field,” he added.

What the Farmerline Fellowship is about?

How is our fellowship program a rare opportunity for interns to achieve meaningful work and innovative impact?

As we grow, we are excited to bring driven, motivated and passionate interns to join the Farmerline team.

Thus, the Farmerline Fellowship is an initiative designed to give young leaders around the world a chance to have real life experience on the front lines of a social change enterprise.

We place our fellows in high-impact leadership positions within the company where they leverage their talents and experiences to develop innovative solutions to the complex and challenging problems that we’re committed to helping solve.

This fellowship program also presents interns with a tangible opportunity to nurture and use the skills needed to succeed in a career centred in their area of expertise. During their time at Farmerline, fellows will build on their strengths and address areas of development. The fellowship initiative will prepare them for leadership in both public and private sectors, and to work across all spheres of global society: business, government, civil society and academia. They will learn through peers and projects, all within an immensely diverse community of individuals united in their drive and commitment to improving the state of the world.

For our CEO and Co-Founder, Alloysius Attah, the Farmerline Fellowship program is a journey of individual development and helping the company achieve its mission. “When we think about how to build our team, the first thing we think about is the culture we want to create. At Farmerline, we don’t see ourselves as a company with employees that have jobs, but rather as a community of passionate people. And together with our fellows, we will work on our long term vision to fundamentally empower smallholder farmers into successful entrepreneurs.”

He also adds that our fellowship process puts a lot of emphasis on passion, team fit, creativity and the desire to want to see farmers flourish.

As part of our team, fellows will alongside our staff to develop and implement leading business strategies that help build a more just, equitable and sustainable world.

With this initiative, fellows will be taken through a high-intensity, hands-on, immersive experience to help them begin the impact career they’ve always wanted. Our fellows make a difference by contributing unique skill sets that are needed within their placement agencies.

Our fellowship is centred on professional development challenges and relationship building with like-minded professionals that will last a lifetime.

The hiring of 11 new fellows signals a new era for Farmerline.

The recruits join us through the “Farmerline Fellowship” program, an initiative we have designed to give young leaders around the world a chance to have real life experience on the front lines of a social change enterprise.

With our growth across the continent over the last four years and recent office expansions in the US and Switzerland, we are beyond excited to announce the arrival of eleven (11) new fellows to join the Farmerline team.

As part of our team, the new fellows will work alongside our staff as they leverage their talent and experiences to develop leading business strategies as well as implement innovative solutions to the complex and challenging problems that we’re committed to helping solve.

The recruits join us through our newly-established “Farmerline Fellowship” program, an initiative we have designed to give young leaders around the world a chance to have real life experience on the front lines of a social change enterprise. The recruits have been placed in high-impact leadership positions within the company where they will complement and enhance our ability to meet the needs of our customers as we continue to grow and provide quality, innovative solutions.

Our CEO and Co-Founder, Alloysius Attah, believes the “Farmerline Fellowship” initiative is a journey of individual development for the new recruits, as well as helping the company achieve its mission.

“When we think about how to build our team, the first thing we think about is the culture we want to create. At Farmerline, we don’t see ourselves as a company with employees that have jobs, but rather as a community of passionate people. And together with our fellows, we will work on our long term vision to fundamentally empower smallholder farmers into successful entrepreneurs,” he said.

“This fellowship process puts a lot of emphasis on passion, team fit, creativity and the desire to want to see farmers flourish. It aims to prepare fellows for leadership in an increasingly complex and ambiguous world, addressing some of the most difficult problems in the world,” he added.

Meet the fellows, in their own words…

Ian Campbell, Northeastern University

“What attracted me to Farmerline was the opportunity to be creative and do what I love to do – help a startup grow in an entirely new environment. I’m currently a 3rd-year college student studying at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts and this is my second co-op experience working for a company for 6 months. I’m very much dedicated to growing the media department and developing the best strategic visual content in our field. My goal at Farmerline is to tell the stories of the farmers and spread the impact of the work that we are doing throughout Ghana, Africa, and the world.”

Dzifa Nanam, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology

“I joined Farmerline because I wanted to get involved and see how technology and information can be made easily accessible and beneficial to farmers. Applying the knowledge acquired in lectures and tutorials to the real working environment of a software developer and in the process learn where I short intriguing for me. My time here so far has been very encouraging and not stifling in the sense that personal development is a priority since it makes the company more capable and proficient in activities.”

Marisa Rudolph, Santa Clara University

“I have been studying agriculture at university and was looking for an opportunity to apply this knowledge in real life. Farmerline caught my eye with their mission statement which focuses on empowering farmers. This type of support creates systemic change, a method of change which I really believe in and can see working daily at Farmerline’s office. I’m looking forward to contributing to Farmerline’s ability to know how the impact their work has on farmers’ livelihoods and to be able to communicate this information effectively to all Farmerline’s stakeholders”

Clement Osei, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology

“As a Computer Science Student, Farmerline’s mission and vision attracted me. With the programming skills I have, I hope to do my best in helping with the software engineering aspects of the company, as well as learn to improve. My time here, so far, has been fun and educative.”

Pranit Garg, Frontier Marketing Scout Fellow

“Farmerline was compelling to me because I would be able to make a significant contribution to it. Also, I love that we are a social enterprise that makes a measurable on the lives of farmers. As we aim to expand our operations, I’ll write a lot of grants to various banks and business accelerators to help make this possible. I hope to help us reach this goal.”

Benjamin Lampe, Santa Clara University

“What attracted me to Farmerline is the ability to innovate in a constrained environment and the dedication to making a profound impact on customers. Farmerline is a tech company using their technology to improve lives, but they’ve been able to do it in a unique way such that the technology can be adopted by communities lacking technological infrastructure. Farmerline is able to leverage the power of technology without placing a burden of adopting new technologies or lifestyles on farmers. I’m looking forward to piecing together a strong understanding of Farmerline’s business relationships and how these work alongside their mission of empowering farmers to be successful entrepreneurs. I will be helping to put together case studies looking at the impact Farmerline makes and the culture of innovation that allows it to be so successful. These can be included on the Mergdata website in order to communicate to the world how Farmerline can work with businesses to the benefit of both those businesses and farmers.”

Deborah Anobil, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology

“What attracted me to Farmerline was the driving force to bridge the gap between extension officers and farmers. With an academic qualification in agriculture, I perfectly understand the frustration farmers go through to access information from extensions officers. This was the reason I was excited to hear that Farmerline is using its platform to provide such information to farmers across the nation through technology. I’m looking forward to a progressive professional development and with a background in customer care and interpersonal skills as well human resource management can fully equip myself and contribute in all aspects deemed necessary to the overall mission and vision of Farmerline.”

Ebenezer Donkor, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology

“I joined the team as an intern from June to August 2017 and I believed in the mission of the company, which is impacting smallholder farmers to become entrepreneurs. I also enjoyed the culture of the team by encouraging initiatives and complementing each other’s effort. I, therefore, decided to join the team. As an intern, I gained experience in how Farmerline employees performed their duties to empower smallholder farmers by way of organising workshops. I also participated and led several farmer workshops during the period and scheduled calls to farmers using the Mergdata platform.”

Alexandra Clarke, Northeastern University

“As a Jamaican, I have always heard about similarities and connections between the two cultures (Ghana and Jamaica). I thought that working at Farmerline would be the perfect combination of these two interests of mine. Additionally, I had not had much prior exposure in the field of agriculture, so I was excited to learn more about social enterprises at work and the country of Ghana, while also being introduced to a new market sector. I look for challenging, creative and insightful opportunities that will both push me, and expose me to new and compelling ideas. Ultimately I hope that my world experiences, my curiosity and drive as well as my familiarity with international business, communications and social enterprise will enable me to contribute to the growth and development of Farmerline, as well as enable me to further my own learning.”

Caleb Zotto, Santa Clara University

“Farmerline is the epitome of a start-up operating with a soulful mission. There are plenty of start-ups which are trying to create “the next best thing,” and a lot of times that “thing” is very consumerist. Another innovative product that we don’t really need, but we buy because it is cool and new. That model appeals to those who have. Farmerline is a start-up with a social mission who has created, now multiple products for those who don’t have. Farmerline appeals to me because they aren’t just another capitalist company, but a social enterprise. I am hoping to supply Farmerline with a stock of high-quality photos that they can use in the future, some marketing campaign ideas, and video footage. I just want to give Farmerline a lot of options so that they can have more options for a path of most success.

Derrick Amankwah Adofo, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
“I am excited about the opportunity to intern with such a well-regarded organization. I look forward to helping Farmerline succeed even more.”

We are excited to have our recruits join us, and look forward to working with them to grow the company.

Meet Thomas Dzandu: An extension agent playing a role in sustainable national development

Farming is on the upswing in the Adansi Fomena district and no one could be happier or more enthused perhaps than Thomas Kwaku Dzandu, an extension officer and agricultural engineer who is helping Farmerline achieve sustainable agriculture.

But the enthusiasm, passion and child-like energy that motivates Thomas to bring his resourcefulness to rural communities are tested every day. As an extension officer, the expected impact that his intervention should have has not been realised due to inadequate funding, lack of logistics and relevant training, lack of promotion opportunities and poor motivation.

Thomas’ quest to transfer proven and accepted farming practices to rural farmers in a participatory manner and to teach them post- harvest processing and storage of their yield is proving futile.

“As an engineer who works as an agriculture extension officer in Ahinsan, Agogooso and Adokwai, I find this job challenging,” Thomas says.

But even within these challenging circumstances, Thomas’ commitment and drive keep fuelling him. He doesn’t care who gets the glory or credit, he just wants the job done and done right. “Being an agriculture extension officer comes with higher levels of commitment. It is all about leaving a good impression in the minds of rural farmers and helping them achieve the most yield and income.”

In many ways, Thomas is an example of a young, passionate Ghanaian seeking to transform agriculture, holding on to the belief that agriculture extension and advisory is one of the best techniques for improving yields and incomes for farmers. This conviction, Thomas has found, aligns with Farmerline’s commitment to transforming the lives of rural farmers through innovative mobile technology and information services.

He believes that Farmerline’s effective organisation of agricultural extension services in the country will, in the long run, transform traditional agriculture into a modern one for improved living standards of the rural people.

“It is challenging covering all farmers in an operational area but Farmerline makes work much more convenient with the introduction of simple notifications on mobile phones that inform farmers on what is important, which makes the work of the agent easy,” he said.

For Thomas, ensuring the dissemination of current best agricultural practices practice, helping organise cooperatives and implement secondary farming programs is the role he has to play to aid in national development. A role he has wholeheartedly embraced.

“My motivation to work with Farmerline is on the basis to support the good efforts of young entrepreneurs to solving the day to day needs of the ordinary farmer,” he added.

Top 9 Features We Think You Will Love About Our New Website!

Over the last five years, we have made considerable efforts to provide farmers and agricultural stakeholders with efficient, effective, and appropriate technology, training, and information. With our newly designed website, we’re furthering that commitment of equipping farmers and businesses with new tools designed to help them improve their bottom lines.

We have evolved a lot since we were founded in 2012.

We’ve grown as a company, built and developed relationships with many loyal clients within the country and across the continent, and added to our in-house team of corporate service, customer success and farmer service professionals, as well as software engineers.

As we look to the future, we are aware that the world of agriculture is always progressing. To that end, we hope to continue to grow and evolve ourselves, as a trusted social enterprise on a local, continental and global scale. We aim to develop our product and service portfolio whilst continuing to offer nothing but the highest standards of customer service to our clients, both existing and new.

With this in mind, we believe it is about time our brand reflected our story, impact, innovations and success. Thus, we have spent the past weeks to come up with a new website, new logo and new brand appearance that is fresh, modern and professional.

Apart from having a clean and colourful new look, the new website is now much more focused on explaining how our three core service sets of 1) 399 Services (information, savings, inputs and credit distribution for farmers) 2)Remote data collection and analytics for agribusinesses and organizations working with farmers 3) Access to markets & supply chains for both farmers and agribusinesses.

After months of working hard to provide our visitors with an easier way to learn about our services and solutions, here are the top nine features that we think you will love about our new website…

I. Informative Home Page

Our new home page aims to make a strong first impression through utilisation of visual media, first and foremost of which is a looping video of how we work. But it’s not just a pretty outlook. The home page acts as a gateway for users to explore the substance of the website, including the products and services we provide, booking a demo, newest stories, our awards and presses and general information you need to reach us, with a quick scroll or swipe. Scroll past the video and you come to a handy grid that shows our usefulnesses to smallholder farmers and businesses alike.

II. Responsive across all platforms

This is an exciting new feature to our redesigned website. Using responsive web design technology, our site will respond and adapt according to the orientation of our visitor’s screen size and resolution. Now, our visitors can view our website on varying platforms, including smartphones, tablets, or standard-size computers, allowing easier access to our website and information.

III. Book A Demo

The best way to understand how we help farmers, agribusinesses and stakeholders are to see our proprietary applications in action. We have a dedicated team on standby to book your demo and take you through how our platforms work and how it is tailor-made to suit your organisational needs.

IV.Customised audio messages

Our collection of sample audios helps visitors listen to some of the customised content we have delivered via voice in local languages to farmers.

V. New background video on homepage

This gives our potential clients and customers a chance to get to know us even before even talking to us. The video also paints a very vivid visual representation of what they can expect to experience from our business.

VI. Simplified Menu Navigation

At the top of every page is the main navigation that organises Farmerline content into key topics:

Products: Shows what we can do for farmers and businesses.

Blogs: Includes our articles and blog posts on our journey, impact and success.

About: Read more about the Farmerline, our team, view our latest press releases and sign up for a demo.

Careers: Houses our values, culture and career opportunities for people who want to join our team.

Mergdata: Learn all about our proprietary software, Mergdata, which is a data-driven communication platform for businesses working with last-mile customers.

VII. Greater emphasis on improving the supply chain

All across the agriculture sector, the supply chain has turned into a strategic function because of the added value it generates. In a global economy, agricultural stakeholders need a logistic partner able to offer solutions that maximise their competitiveness. This added feature on our website shows how we work closely with our partners and their customers, adding value through the knowledge, skills and services we bring to the table.

VIII. Getting Social

Want to interact with our news and blogs? What to share it with others?

We have integrated Social Media response buttons that appear at the end of news and blog entries. Now you can more easily and seamlessly share content from our website. We’d love for you to share our content with your followers and use it as a conversation-starter. We also encourage you to follow us on our social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube), where we share regular updates on our impact, innovations, industry developments, farmer workshops, conferences and events.

XI. Extending our global reach

As agriculture continues to grow, having worldwide connections becomes crucial.

We are a global company with three offices on three continents and operations in over 10 countries around the world.

Our international reach means we can maintain product availability, provide seamless distribution, and – above all – ensure quality service delivery wherever we operate. This also links us to the key decision makers at major sustainable food brands, farm input companies, financial institutions and development agencies all around the world, providing our renowned wealth of market intelligence and insight.

You can rest assured that our multinational team will use all our connections to deliver a high-quality service wherever your business is operating.


We are also excited to announce our updated mission statement and our core values, signalling a clear commitment to our customers and their care.

We hope you enjoy the new website and because we pride ourselves on always listening to our customer feedback, look forward to any comments or suggestions you might have for us!

Farmerline’s Director to speak at 2017 West Africa Fertilizer Agribusiness Conference

Over 500 participants, including agriculture policymakers, agribusiness leaders and regional government representatives, are convening in Accra this week for the 2017 West Africa Fertilizer Agribusiness Conference.

The conference, which is a unique opportunity to meet and network with the key decision-makers that are opening up the African market for fertiliser trade, aims to explore the challenges and opportunities associated with boosting agribusiness in this West African region, with particular attention to the role that the fertiliser supply chain can take.

Our own Director of Growth, Research and Development, Worlali Senyo, will be speaking at the conference on Tuesday, 11th July, on the agenda “Innovation in West African Agribusiness”, from 4pm-5pm.

Other speakers for the event include Hon. Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, Chairman – Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Joseph Boahen Aidoo Chief Executive Officer – Ghana Cocoa Board, Dr Alex Ariho, Chief Executive Officer – African Agribusiness Incubators Network (AAIN) and Danquah Addo-Yobo Managing Director – Yara Ghana.

The conference will see delegates benefit from three days of dedicated networking opportunities and a comprehensive program of high-level speakers and moderators that will cover key market trends, project updates and supply and demand forecasts. The conference will also feature an extensive exhibition of the world’s cutting edge fertiliser and agribusiness technologies and services.

My Experience at Africa’s first World Aquaculture Conference

A week ago, I had the pleasure of attending and presenting at the World Aquaculture Conference in Cape Town, South Africa.

Before embarking on the journey, I did not know what to expect but I understood the conference for what it was — an opportunity to discuss the potential of aquaculture production in Africa to support economic development and investment opportunities. It was that and much more.

Here is a summary of my experience…

Conferences can be stressful but ultimately they are rewarding and fun. Being in an environment with people from the same discipline is important as it connects you to others who are active in your line of work. You grow as a person, meeting new friends and industry stakeholders. New opportunities and prospects open up, sometimes from just a casual conversation in the corridor between scheduled sessions.

The atmosphere at the conference was intimidating in the beginning but became friendly and supportive with each session, which removed some of the formality. I thoroughly enjoyed my session as I passionately talked about how Farmerline uses mobile technology to impact the lives of 1000 fish farmers in Ghana by providing information on best management practices and market prices of fish. As simple as this innovation was, the audience was stunned by Farmerline’s approach of reaching smallholders with relevant information which transformed their way of practising aquaculture.  The question and answer period were amazing, with constructive peer assessment and informative critiquing. My knowledge was heightened in realising the major role Farmerline can play in advancing aquaculture in Africa. Positive feedback and compliments also reinforced the point that Q&As are proportional to the quality and effort that the speaker has put into their allotted time. I came away very excited!

My favourite moment was walking to my seat after my talk to a resounding applause. I felt so proud about Farmerline’s work and progress as well as the quality of my presentation as subsequent speakers made continuous reference to Farmer line’s technology.

I was also impressed by how wide the aquaculture sector is, globally, through the exhibition and inspiring talk on “Feeding The 9 billion: The Role of Aquaculture” by Dr.Rohana Subsasinghe of FAO during the plenary session.

Presenting for the first time at a major conference was for me akin to taking another major roller coaster ride of my your life. A continuum from excitement, elation and pride through to unease and anxiety. But surprisingly, I was very calm and I absolutely loved every bit of it!

It was also a pivotal experience for me and I hope to present more at such conferences in the future.

Here are some of the lessons from the conference…

I. Aquaculture is a very important sector as it plays a pivotal role in addressing 9 out of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

II. Though aquaculture in Africa has seen development, the increase in production has been gradual, unlike our Asian counterparts. It was established that Africa still has a long way go to in realising its potential in aquaculture to feed its growing population.

III. Aquaculture development worldwide is being hampered by the invasion of fish diseases. More recently, in parts of Asia, Africa and South America the incidence of the Tilapia Lake Virus (TiLV) is on the rise which is a threat to the tilapia industry. It is important to note that no report of any human health-related issues has been associated with the consumption of affected tilapia from any of the affected countries since the emergence of TiLV (CGIAR, 2017). In the midst of this daunting situation, is the opportunity to create and broaden career opportunities within the aquaculture field. This presents the need for fish health specialists and I encourage the youth pursuing related courses to take advantage.

IV. Ghana as a country is doing quite well in sub-Saharan Africa nonetheless there is so much we can harness from aquaculture in Ghana hence expanding our scope from the 2 main species (tilapia & catfish) to other indigenous species and also by learning from the examples of Egypt, etc.




Tips to stand out as an effective workshop facilitator

Farmerline’s Director of Farmer Services, Schandorf Adu-Bright, shares insights on how to become a successful workshop facilitator.


Leading a workshop is always daunting.

You can be extremely prepared but you never really know what kind of group dynamic you will meet in a workshop room. It is therefore extremely important that a workshop facilitator shares all about how to effectively get people to discuss strategy and innovation ideas, progress and next steps at a workshop.

We asked our own Director of Farmer Services, Schandorf Adu-Bright, who is successful workshop facilitator, to share valuable guidelines and tips on how a facilitator can brush up on their approach, and ensure that attendees are guided towards productive results from a workshop session.

  1. Start the meeting with an introduction; present yourself, your organisation, and explain what your role in your organisation is. Give detailed address to your organisation’s office(s). Introduce all other persons who are with you on the trip, but be more intentional about some details to establish credibility. An example of this is explaining the benefits of the products and services your organisation offers, partners, customers, and the impact that the services and products you provide have made. This builds trust. Then, allow your participants (depending on their number) to introduce themselves. Always observe and acknowledge all community leaders present at your workshop.
  1. State clearly the purpose of the workshop and explain what participants would gain from the workshop.
  1. During your facilitation process, acknowledge and respect the views of others, and let everybody feel cherished and appreciated. Never tell a participant that their answer is wrong. Show appreciation for their courage to speak up, and then politely reveal the gaps in the given answer. When done well, the participant would admit the wrong in their answer.

4. Be open-minded to new ideas and opinions, and ask thought-challenging questions to initiate discussion. Here are some phrases you can use to open up discussions: I. What would happen if we did? II. In your experience, what do you think would work? III. Tell me about…… IV. What do you think about? V. What ideas do you have?

  1. Discuss issues, never personalities. You can disagree with someone without disliking them.
  1. Avoid the use of phrases like “good idea but…….” Whenever you use but, people instantly become aware of the negative ending.  You can say, “It’s a good idea. Can we think of it this way?”
  1. Always avoid confrontations and stay away from local/national politics. Often times, this creates tension and may spark anger among participants. Some participants may want to reveal their political colours and will intentionally seek your comments on some political issues to validate their assumption. However, as a professional, it is okay to fairly point out certain gaps in some national policies.
  1. As a facilitator, ensure your participants speak one at a time. This helps to maintain order and allows everyone one to be heard. If there is someone taking notes, speaking one at a time helps them to record all the salient points.
  1. Keep comments brief and relevant. Some attendees may be busy people and a precious use of their time would be in their interest.
  1. Be enthusiastic and use the right tone.
  1. Don’t dress to attract attention on yourself rather than your message. Where possible, you’re your organisation’s branded shirts. Female participants should also be moderate with their makeup, so not to distract participants.
  1. Be vulnerable. If you share a personal story relevant to your message or particular point, your message would be well received.

  1. Let everyone know that what is discussed is confidential and will not be used outside the workshop.
  1. If you are not fluent in the local dialect of the area where you are conducting the workshop, get a translator and engage them about your message before the workshop.
  1. Summarise the main points at the end of the presentation and initiate the action points.
  1. Get snacks and drinks so the people will feel more comfortable. Soft music can also help.


Farmerline’s Lily Keledorme to speak at 2017 World Aquaculture Society Conference

Our Customer Success Associate, Lily Akorfa Keledorme, is among a raft of high profile speakers at this year’s World Aquaculture Society’s Aquaculture Conference and Exhibition in South Africa.

Themed ‘Sustainable Aquaculture – New Frontiers for Economic Growth – Spotlight on Africa’, the conference will see Lily join some 3,000 industry, academic and government delegates from the 100 member countries of the World Aquaculture Society at the CTICC (Cape Town International Convention Centre) in Cape Town.

She will offer her expertise for a session, Information Dissemination and Networking at Cape Town International Convention Centre; Meeting room 1.63 on Thursday, June 29, 2017, at 9:20 am.

Happening for the first time in Africa, the conference and exhibition will have its spotlight on the potential of aquaculture production to support economic development and investment opportunities in the world’s second fastest growing regional economy.

Lily taking a clerk through training in Kona in the Ashanti Region.

The attendees will go through four days worth of talks on the major issues facing aquaculture including new technologies, new species, marketing techniques, climate change impacts and fish health.Recognised as a strong advocate for the contribution of aquaculture to poverty alleviation and food and nutrition security, Lily expressed excitement at being a speaker at the conference.

“I am honoured to be a part of this year’s conference”. Lily said. “It is a privileged to share on the “Impact of Mobile Technology Based Extension Services: The Case of Fish Farmers in Ghana”, so we can collectively engage in this untapped opportunity to contribute to the socio-economic needs of our continent”.

The conference will cater to the broad range of interests in aquaculture, providing an earning, information-sharing and networking opportunity for entrepreneurs, business, scientists, technical specialists, educators, students, policy-makers and public officials.


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