Since March 2011, some 1,500 farmers in 15 Western Region communities have already signed up to participate in the programme offering the technology, known as CocoaLink which provides text messages to farmers with access to mobile phones, a press release from the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has said.
The technology, the COCOBOD said provides Ghanaian cocoa farmers with critical agricultural and social information that benefits farmer families and their communities, it also enables farmers to ask specific cocoa growing questions and share ideas and knowledge with other farmers.
According to the COCOBOD, the technology also uses voice in local languages (Twi) and English to connect cocoa farmers with useful information about improving farming practices, farm safety, child labor, health, crop disease prevention, post-harvest management practices and produce marketing for free.
“Farmers will also be able to share information and receive answers to specific questions relating to their cocoa farming livelihoods with experts at the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG),” it adds.
Ghana has mobile phone coverage across approximately 85 percent of its geography and more than 65 percent of rural residents have access to mobile phones, the release said.
The COCOBOD, World Cocoa Foundation and The Hershey Company are partners in the programme, which is expected to reach 100,000 Ghanaians in cocoa communities by 2014.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi