Youth and Tech solutions to agricultural growth and Audio conferencing for extension

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Young people have used different innovative approaches to promote the development of Agriculture in Ghana through the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) that may inspire you; please share your thoughts if this is the case.

The two articles below are also available in the new issue of ICT Update focusing on Youth and ICTs. The ICT Update issue is published by the Technical Center for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA)

a)     An attractive opportunity / Tia Moses

Audio conferencing has helped to improve extension services in northern Ghana, and encouraged young people in rural communities to follow a career in agriculture.

Audio conferencing has helped to improve extension services in northern Ghana, and encouraged young people in rural communities to follow a career in agriculture.

The Savannah Young Farmers Network (SYFN) is a youth-led NGO in Ghana that uses ICTs to deliver agricultural and rural advisory services, and promote the active engagement of young people in agriculture. One example of how they do this is their Audio Conferencing for Extension (ACE) project, currently running in selected communities in the Builsa District of northern Ghana.

The project addresses the challenges farmers face with agricultural extension, where services can be irregular, and farmers are not involved in the development of content. Many young farmers feel especially that extension delivery methodologies are not tailored to their specific needs to see agriculture as a business, while the steady decline in productivity leads to the migration of youth to urban areas to look for non-existent jobs.

ACE uses audio conferencing technology to involve farmers in regular meetings with agricultural officers from SYFN, and a wide variety of agricultural extension experts, agronomists, ICT professionals and researchers from various institutions. SYFN currently works with 25 farmer based organisations, covering more than 200 farmers. Each farmer group has an audio conference twice a week, with the option to call for an emergency meeting, if the need arises.


b)     Tech solutions to agricultural growth/

One of the winners in the recent NEPAD-CTA essay contest, Solomon Elorm Allavi, explains how he uses GIS and mapping technology to improve agricultural value chains in Ghana.

Twenty-eight year-old IT professional, Solomon Elorm Allavi, established and manages a start-up company, Syecomp Business Services, in Accra, Ghana. The company strives to implement ICT solutions to address the limited access to marketing outlets for smallholder farmers and others in the agricultural value chain. Syecomp utilises GIS and GPS to provide an array of farmland surveying and mapping services.

GIS surveying and mapping help to establish the spatial locations and concentration of fruits and vegetable farms. The technology determines the supply base of producing firms and establishes a system for traceability and precision production for the farmers. Such services go a long way to addressing the numerous constraints faced by farmers, especially regarding the dispersion of farms, and the lack of location-specific data for production planning, monitoring and targeting. All of which results in an inability to forecast farm yields; inaccurate assessment of supply base; over-estimation of farm sizes; over-paying for labour and other services; difficulties in resource allocation and targeting of small-scale producers for assistance and support.

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