“The Talking Book gave me information on gender issues, best farming practices and how to keep records. The women here were excited about the training. Before, we were not aware of the importance of record keeping. Now we can calculate and know if we are making a profit or running a loss in our farming business. The Talking book also helped us learn new farming methods to prevent soil erosion. It also trained us on how to pick and better process shea butter, how to even use the residue to feed animals and other useful advice”
This is Paulina Ayamga, a shea growing farmer in the Upper East region who benefited under the Farmers Economic Advancement through Seedlings (FEATS) programme. Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) is a Christian-based economic development organization which provides scalable and sustainable solutions to alleviate poverty.
MEDA ran the FEATS programme in partnership with Esoko to provide seedlings, basic farm business literacy skills and crop advisory services to empower women farmers in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions in Ghana. The programme focuses on four main cash crops: shea, cocoa, rubber, and cashew to enhance financial literacy.
The Talking Book enjoyed by Paulina is a battery-powered audio device by Amplio which allows people with little to no literacy skills to get access to content. Recording training sessions in their local languages, Esoko has trained over 6,000 women shea growers in the three regions on bookkeeping, best farming practices and leadership.
“I learned that I have to weed across the hills and not downhill. We must also not burn the weeds which can cause bushfires but use them as compost to prevent soil damage. Now I keep records of my proceeds. My child writes everything down for me so I can tell if I am making a profit or loss from my business. The Talking book has helped me a lot.” Mary Atampuri beams as she praises the Esoko-MEDA project and how she has gained new knowledge on good agricultural activities.
The FEATS programme is also providing seedlings and crop advisory services to cocoa, cashew, and rubber growers in the Middle to the Southern belt of the country. Over 50,000 farmers are expected to have received training under the “Farmer Business School” in financial planning, budgeting, bookkeeping and leadership skills under the FEATS Project.