Connecting farmers to market prices, weather information and markets is one of the things we do best at Esoko. The aim is to help farmers negotiate better for prices, plan farming activities better and ultimately to improve farmers yield and incomes.
Osei Owusu-Ansah, a farmer located in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region has been a subscriber to Esoko information services since 2015. Osei is a 54 year old family man who has been dabbling in farming since 1994, although he recently decided to take it a business level. He grows 30 acres each of cashews and coconuts and 10 acres each for cowpea and maize.
We sat down to interview him to find out what his experience has been with our services so far:
[S]: How did you hear about Esoko?
[O]: So many years ago through the internet. I got in touch with the call centre and subscribed through there. My first subscription was around 2014 or 2015. And I recently subscribed again.
[S]: What are some of the challenges you’ve faced since you started farming?
[O]: Number one, weather. Number two, labour; this is mostly due to lack of mechanization. And of course the biggest of all is getting a market for my produce.
[S]: Which services in particular are you subscribed to? Which is most important to you?
[O]: I get commodity prices across Ghana for cowpea and maize and a few other crops. And then I’m also subscribed to the weather forecast. The Esoko team came and recorded the exact coordinates for my farm so they can send me targeted weather information. Other weather sources give me forecast for Kumasi in general, which isn’t always accurate given the size of the town.
The priority for me is for Esoko to help me find market, to put me in contact with people who want what I sell. Your call centre did mention something like that but I’m yet to subscribe. I’m not too sure how it works, can you explain?
[S]: Of course. We have a service called bids and offers. With this service we link buyers to sellers. So let’s say you have a 100 tons of maize to sell. What you do is call our call centre on 1900. You tell them what crop you have available. In which quantity and where you are located. This information plus your contact details is then sent in the form of an SMS to buyers and aggregators on the platform. They will then contact you to negotiate prices. This negotiation should be easier for you because you are receiving Esoko prices, so you can make sure you are not being cheated. You know the going rates in all the markets across the country.
[O]: Okay that is great to know. I will contact the call centre to subscribe to this service too. The Esoko call centre has been very helpful to me when setting me up for the market price and weather alerts.
[S]: You know you can also call them whenever you have any challenges on your farm? For instance if you visit your farm and there is an outbreak of disease, you can just give them a call and they can advise you on what to do. They are all well-trained agric experts.
[O]: Okay, will take note of that too.
[S]: Is there any benefit you can tell me about since you subscribed to our information services?
[O]: For me, getting an idea of market prices for the commodities I grow is very helpful. It helps me plan where and when I can get the best prices for my crops. Second is the targeted weather information, I like that it is specific to my farm. The information is very accurate and helps me plan my farming activities better.
What I’m looking forward to is subscribing to the Bids and Offers services, I hope Esoko will help expand my market for me.
[S]: Would you refer Esoko to other farmers? What would you say to them?
[O]: I would definitely recommend you to other farmers. What strikes me is the customer relations from Esoko. I have spoken to a few of the call centre agents but have only met one in person. I must say I’ve been impressed and am very happy with the service.
[S]: We are very glad to hear that. One of Esoko’s core values is to “Give everyone a remarkable experience” 🙂