We hosted Ghana’s first ever mobile for agricultural development workshop dubbed ‘mAGRIC Showcase 2012’ on May 15. The workshop, which was sponsored by Esoko, GIZ and the World Bank (WAAPP), sought to bring together NGOs, key practitioners, researchers, development partners, mobile operators, software developers, agribusinesses and government to explore how mobile phones may play a vital role in developing agriculture.
During the one-day workshop, over 80 people took part in the interactive discussions to share their stories, ideas and lessons learned, and to brainstorm on how to discover, test and build new innovations using mobile phones across the agric sector. Participants also shared what common lessons are emerging to help anyone choosing a solution or deployment path.
Topics discussed included the role of intermediaries in bridging the gap between farmers and technology (or if intermediaries are needed at all), the possibilities offered by public-private partnerships, and the issue of scaling up projects while maintaining their sustainability.
Projects that were showcased at the event included DreamOval’s CocoaLink, a public-private partnership that uses mobile technology to deliver timely farming, social and marketing information to local cocoa farmers to improve their farming processes, income and livelihood, and Grameen Foundation’s Community Knowledge Worker (CKW) initiative, an ICT enabled agricultural extension worker program. GIZ’s African Cashew Initiative, which seeks to make the cashew value chain more transparent and more efficient, and SMSGH’s SIIMA, which was customised for ACDI-VOCA Ghana ADVANCE to collect and analyse agricultural data from remote locations, were also showcased. The rest were IFDC’s mFarms, an agricultural business solution platform, and Esoko.
This first Showcase, intended to be held annually, fulfilled its purpose of generating meaningful conversation and providing a networking platform to spur on future collaboration.