The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) – Ghana
TheGhana Extension Systems Strengthening Project (GESSiP)
The AGRA funded GESSiP project aims to train about 680,000 small-holder farmers on best agronomical processes, farmer-based organization, and then also on financial literacy. The implementation consortium is composed by the Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the Hunger Project (THP) and FarmerLine Ltd under the leadership of the Directorate of Agricultural Extension Services (DAES) of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA).
Prior to deploying the DCS kits, the project used to rely on just demonstration models and field visits led by Agricultural Extension Agents and community-based advisers not without a lot of challenges and pains. This became more difficult when the covid19 pandemic broke out. Field visits were increasingly ineffective due to the increasing number of farmer and the pertaining AEA-to-farmer ration already deplorable. Thanks to the DCS deployment, farmers who see the demonstration footages as if they are in the actual farm because the video and the pictures depict the farm that they are viewing in that particular setting.
The DCS thus gave us room to do extension work all year round and in a very balanced manner since unlike the southern zone, the north only has one (1) raining season for its crop production campaigns. The DCS approach thus aided with the audio-visual content, which made farmers to adopt the technologies very easily.
The project mainly leveraged on its own training videos library coupled with those of Access Agriculture to educate farmers. At individual level, the consortium members have video materials as a result of previous partnerships; CRS previously partnered with IFDC in the framework of the Feed the Future – Ghana Agriculture Technology Transfer (ATT) project where training videos on soy, rice and maize were developed in at least eight (8) local dialects; the Ministry of Food and Agriculture of Ghana on one hand also became a beneficiary of those same videos as a result of IFDC handing over and support to the government led Planting for Foods and Jobs (PFJ) program cumulated video; additionally the Ministry’s own communication department produced dozen other training videos to be disseminated using the DCS kits. In total, the GESSiP mobilized thirty eight (38) DCS kits in seventeen (17) districts. An estimated 900,000 farmers were eventually reached.
Rural communities, utilizing both projector and power bank.
Aside the obvious advantages of the system such as sharp image quality, combining a computer and a projector in one device, the Digital Classroom Systems helped us in the following aspects
The DCS kits made us good managers of time and resources because we are more proactive and we are able to save time because we are able to gather more farmers, train them even outside the farm
It made extension very inclusive and gender balanced as women are more represented because they are able to complete their chores and avail themselves alongside the men at the convenient slot we carry out the shows/exercises
The DCS helped us deliver a lot of technologies even during the dry season which is very useful and the video and audio part of it made farmers to love it because when we go to project, we start with entertainment which attracts farmers before we start with the education component.
“I just wish we had discovered these DCS kits much earlier; they only cost a fraction of the video-vans we heavily invested in and yet achieve the same results in the field with zero maintenance fees and zero recurrent expenditures.”
Paul Siamey |Director / Directorate of Agricultural Extension Services (DAES)
“Farmers now see things, and they are able to hear and able to apply easily because it is something they envisage and they have seen and when they go to the farm, the application becomes easy compared to the instances where they have to take verbal directives from extension officers or community-based advisors who expect them to remember it when they return to their various farms.”
Aliu Fio Baduong | Senior Project Officer /GESSiP