The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) announced that its
CocoaLink program is now providing text messages to all Ghanaian farmers with
access to cell phones.
CocoaLink, a unique farmer outreach program with the
World Cocoa Foundation and The Hershey Company, expects to reach 100,000
Ghanaians in cocoa communities by 2014.
CocoaLink Connecting Cocoa Communities” CocoaLink, first
announced in March 2011, is an innovative technology program that provides
Ghanaian cocoa farmers with critical agricultural and social information that
benefits farm families and their communities and enables farmers to ask
specific cocoa growing questions and share learnings with other farmers.
I am happy to be part of CocoaLink. When I have a
problem on the farm I can text or call for help and they will help me. I have
registered with my husband’s phone number and when I get the message; my
children can help me read it. I’m expecting that it will help us in the
community,” said one CocoaLink user from a cocoa farm in Sefwi Akontombra
uses voice and SMS text messages delivered 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 all at no charge.
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).
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 national rollout of CocoaLink by COCOBOD and our
partners Hershey and the World Cocoa Foundation is another outstanding example
of how we are helping our farmers become more knowledgeable and more
productive,” said Anthony Fofie, chief executive officer of COCOBOD.
CocoaLink has the potential to be one of our most
innovative and cost effective agriculture extension tools. Through its
practical information, strong literacy training and ease of use, we are quite
confident that the CocoaLink will accelerate the transfer of knowledge,
improving the lives of many Ghanaian farmers,” Fofie added.
Since March 2011, some 1,500 farmers in 15 Western Region
communities have already signed up to participate. CocoaLink is on track to
reach 8,000 Ghanaian cocoa farmers and family members by 2012 and more than
100,000 by the end of 2014.
CocoaLink is truly the right program at the right time.
It is building on Ghana’s growing capabilities in mobile technology to help
farmers grow quality cocoa, increase family income and expanding opportunities
for their children and communities,” said Tawiah Agyarko-Kwarteng of World
By Telecomlead.com Team