Extension Services By MOFA Strengthened Through Radio

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Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto
Dr Owusu Afriyie-Akoto

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture is strengthening its extension services to farmers through the incorporation of new technologies, including radio, to help farmers and others in the agricultural value chain access information.

It has, therefore, rolled out a 10-year project, the Digital Agricultural Advisory Service Strategy and Plan (DAASSP) radio programmes, to help farmers to access the constant flow of information and advisory services in their farming activities.

In this connection, a two-day evaluation meeting on how to sustain and improve the DAASSP project, which was started two years ago, was held in Kumasi.

It was organized by Farm Radio International (FRI), an NGO focused on using radio to help African farming communities and the Directorate of Extension Services of MOFA.

Ms Rosemond Ohene, the Programmes Manager of Farm Radio International, told the Ghana News Agency, on the sidelines of the meeting, that the DAASSP project, which was being funded by the Global First of Canada, would help complement the government’s efforts at engaging more extension officers to meet the Food and Agriculture Organizations standards of 1: 500 farmers.

Ghana’s current extension officer farmer ratio is 1: 1,200.

She said the project had already aligned with regional departments of agriculture and the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) across all 16 regions to ensure that agricultural information was made available through radio to the farmers.

The project had also identified some ICT firms that could offer a comprehensive digital extension service delivery to farmers across the country.

Ms Ohene said the meeting, which brought together all stakeholders within the agricultural value chain, was to assess the programme’s performance, strengths, weaknesses, lessons learnt and how to sustain it.

She said the constant flow of information to farmers on services and techniques could help them adopt better agricultural practices to expand and increase production.

She emphasised that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the radio and other technological engagements would be apt in scaling up agribusiness and extension services.

Ms Ohene said there was also an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system, where farmers could call in at any time to leave their questions, feedback and suggestions so that when a radio programme was on, the extension officers and the radio team could pick them up and make sure their questions were answered.

She encouraged other private entities focusing on agriculture to partner with the regional Departments of Agriculture to champion the cause of serving farmers with the needed agricultural information.

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