Leading technology firm on the African continent Esoko, showcased an innovative model to further improve the lives and productivity of smallholder farmers. Dubbed the ‘’Agent Network Model”, this approach was introduced to some key stakeholders at the Esoko Openhouse 2021.
Openhouse is a periodic event held by the company to exhibit their digital services or new service offerings to their clients and stakeholders across various sectors. This event was held in Tamale as part of the 11th edition of the Agribusiness Exhibitions and Conference Event organized by Agrihouse Foundation.
Led by the Senior Business Development Manager, Solomon Tematey Mensah and Senior Business Advisor, Gordon Kotey Nikoi, they gave a detailed presentation and a demo of the digital platform to be deployed under this model. Some guests at the Openhouse event included smallholder farmers, aggregators, processors, representatives from Plan International, GIZ, Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), among others.
Social Intervention Challenges
Reaching to provide the needed interventions in rural and underserved communities have proven expensive and often such programs focus on specific areas, whereas a holistic approach is required to ensure efficiency and sustainability. Unfortunately, profiling of beneficiaries, limited financial access, and information asymmetry are but a few of the challenges the government, local and international bodies face when executing social intervention programs.
The Agent Network Model is designed to decentralize access to marginalized communities to bridge the economic disparity while digitizing the Agri value chain in line with the Government of Ghana’s Digitization Agenda. The two-fold model is deployed through trained Esoko agents who will provide community-level digital services to smallholder farmers in areas such as biometric profiling and farm mapping.
This service will provide accurate data to ensure access to various governmental, local, and international programs. The Esoko platform on which the beneficiaries will be enrolled will grant them access to digital services such as
- Agricultural advisory services
- Climate-smart agronomic tips
- Financial credit
For organizations that seek to carry out such programs and need community-level data for surveys or profiling, data is efficiently collected via the agents in these communities through digital tools which track their activities at an affordable cost.
The other part of this model is the opportunity for the employment of young graduates across Ghana to become digital agents. The agents earn commissions on providing digital services to farmers or organizations. The Agent Network Model in effect creates avenues to enhance smallholder farmer productivity, promote digital and financial inclusion to rural and farming communities, and employment for the youth.
When rolled out, smallholder farmers can request agent services via a dedicated USSD shortcode or the Esoko farmer helpline 1900.