Africa's First Farmer Helpline

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Most start ups have failed to impact the community in the way Esoko (Ghana) has over the past few years. The Ghanaian breed start up has broken the ceiling through merging farming with mobile technology.

By Perseverance Tavagwisa

Across Africa, farmers are struggling with using ever-more sophisticated seeds, pesticides and fertilizers, and with many depending on the rains for their livelihoods, they are trying to manage an increasingly unpredictable weather cycle.

Public services are also struggling to keep up, sometimes with one officer serving as many as 3,000 plus farmers. Food security and nutrition has never been more important.

There is a lot of hype about how smart phones and SMS services can help farmers. Some services fall short and others are as good as not being there at all. Reliability and trustworthiness is an issue especially when dealing with livelihoods.

Well, in Ghana Esoko launched Ghana’s First Farmer Helpline. Available to anyone, where a group of agricultural experts are available to answer whatever question a farmer may pose in their native language (farmers’)

Topics such as diseases and pests, post-harvest issues, storage, use of pesticides and fertilizers amongst the many more are covered by their experts.

By providing a dedicated call center, they have enabled farmers in remote regions to access vital information hence farmers become more equipped in decision making.

This type of voice service is an essential complement to any type of SMS program that may be offered! Esoko went back to the basics and started providing farmers with answers in their own native language for better understanding.

The ugly truth is that no matter how great an innovation is , it will be meaningless if it’s not fully grasped by its intended target.

This has lead to the startup breaking through 8 African countries and increasing farmer incomes by 10%.
Since 2005 , Esoko has been using innovative mobile technology solutions in the provision of agriculture and market information to farmers of which some are in rural communities.

Esoko is currently operating in Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Malawi, Mozambique, Madagascar, and Zimbabwe and recently in Kenya.

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