A recent study on rural economic transformation produced by ACET and sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has inspired Vodafone Ghana, one of the country’s leading network operators, to launch the Vodafone Farmers Club which aims to improve the performance of farmers by providing them with relevant information through its network.
Speaking at the launch ceremony which was also attended by Ghana’s Minister for Agriculture, Fiifi Kwetey, Vodafone Ghana CEO, Harris Broumidis, said the report, Promoting Sustainable Rural Development in Africa, Ghana Country Report*, had highlighted the need to raise the living standards and output of farmers through the application of modern methods, including technology.
The recommendations of the report had inspired Vodafone to establish the Farmer’s Club through which farmers on the scheme would receive specially designed data and voice packages in their own languages which would contain nutrition tips, weather reports and market prices in order to give them an edge in the production and marketing of their crops. This would be provided via a bespoke SIM card.
“As a developing country, Ghana is heavily reliant on the services sector, sometimes to the detriment of the agriculture sector,” said Harris Broumidis. “We want to reverse this trend. Farmers should be encouraged to increase their yield year-on-year and in the process, move Ghana from an over reliance on imports and become an export-led economy.”
The Farmer’s Club, he added, “is a great stroke of inspiration for this country at this stage of its development and we are happy to be leading this effort.”
Fiifi Kwetey, Ghana’s Minister for Agriculture, pledged the government’s support for the initiative and applauded the efforts to help in the transformation of Ghana’s agriculture sector and lives in general.
Julius Gatune Kariuki, Policy Advisor at ACET and principal author of the report, said: “We are delighted that our Ghana country report has inspired Vodafone to launch this service which will prove invaluable to the country’s farmers. The objective of the report is to draw attention to the enormous potential that Ghana’s agriculture sector possesses in not only transforming itself but the economy at large as well. We will be happy to collaborate with Vodafone in further developing this initiative.”