Then we entered the farm. Green with pineapples growing everywhere, planted orderly and precisely. Everything was so put together until I saw black plastic stuff covering the land, with the pineapples growing out of it. We were confused and upon asking Ali told us that was the plastic mulch method. He said with this new method taught by the project they didn’t have to deal with weeds as was the previous case. “In our former practices we spent almost 70% of our profit on clearing weeds from the farms after harvesting but now we don’t have to bother with them. Also the plastic mulching ensures that our fruits do not wither and die when the rains fail us”.
Ali is a very excitable person. He is bubbly, laughs a lot and full of mirth. He had a lot to say about Esoko and didn’t miss a chance to passionately praise the changes Esoko has made in his life. It was like Esoko gave him life after he was declared dead by doctors. Now it was difficult at this point for me to decipher how Esoko impacted his life cause as far as I could see, the better farming techniques taught by the MOAP project must have attributed to better growth and harvest until he blew my mind with a simple statement. He said “I used to get GHC 800 after harvesting one acre, now however, with the price information I receive from Esoko, I make a whooping GHC 10,000 when I sell my produce”. I honestly thought he made a mistake so I asked him to say the amount again, and he repeated it. Now all his songs of praise for Esoko made sense.
I kept thinking about this statement the whole time. I mean hearing the farmer himself talk about the impact our services are having on his life is a different experience altogether. It’s really inspiring. Now all the hard work (like trying to get mundane help text together for platform administrators!) is totally worth it. I literally called my Mum after I had settled down for the night to tell her about Ali. Seriously I spent an hour on the phone with her. It was an epiphany, like the first time you come out, like making a successful debut! Ali is now a lead farmer in his community, teaching other farmers on new farming methods. He has even set up an office for his farming group. After harvesting his fruits this year he will use the profits to get an excavator and clear his other land that he had left fallow, now full of weeds, so that he can expand the plastic mulch method. He is confident and excited about his progress because he knows with better farming methods and price information from Esoko he is bound to have a successful year and beyond!