In March 2017, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) partnered with Esoko under the Planting for Food and Jobs program, to provide technologies to help revolutionize the way agriculture is managed in Ghana. Since then we have deployed 400 field enumerators to 159 districts equipped with Esoko’s Insyt mobile technology, to collect biometric and spatial data of farmers across the country. Additionally, we have been commissioned to provide:
- Web-enabled monitoring of field activities of farmers and a dashboard to provide real-time information from the field
- Recruitment, training and supervision of field enumerators
For 2017, the project is targeting 200,000 farmers to be provided with subsidized agricultural inputs such as fertilizer and agro-chemicals. The initiative aims to increase food production and agricultural GDP, reduce the country’s food import bill and create jobs along the value chain.
Challenges with similar projects
In the past, agricultural projects in Ghana such as the Block Farming System, have faced many challenges – eventually undermining their success. Some of these challenges have included:
- Inaccurate basic data of enrolled farmers such as name, age, location of farm, plot sizes etc. Most farms enrolled during the Block Farming System were non-existent.
- Political interferences where DCEs/MCEs influenced the quantity of inputs given to some farmer groups. This resulted in some farmers not willing to pay back since they felt their party was in power
- Extension agents falsifying data on yield and provision of technical support due to the non-existence of a tracking system for field activities.
Collecting accurate and real-time project data through Insyt
In order to eliminate the above challenges for the Planting for Food and Jobs Program, there is a need to effectively track all project activities – from number of farmers profiled to enumerator performance on the field. Previously, this has been difficult to achieve with paper-based data collection which is usually inaccurate, expensive and slow. This is where Insyt, our digital data solution comes in.
With Insyt, MoFa receives real-time updates on the progress of the project on a customized user-friendly dashboard. The dashboard tracks activities such as number of farmers profiled, number of districts profiled and total farm size mapped. This information can be broken down further according to region and crops. To ensure time-efficiency, our Insyt technology also tracks the performance of each field enumerator by measuring their output over time i.e. number of farmers profiled. This information can also be viewed in real-time and is used by deployment supervisors to manage their teams effectively.
Our GIS mapping feature measures farm polygons of farmers allowing farm plots to be visualized remotely from a web browser. This is possible by integrating our technology with google maps for authentic imagery.
We are elated about this opportunity to work with MoFA to improve smallholder farmer productivity and income through their registration. Esoko believes in the potential of the smallholder to leap out of poverty when given the needed support and this project is set to do just that by forming a foundation for any subsequent intervention.