Kuapa Kokoo, Ghana’s Fairtrade-certified cocoa farmers organization, is collaborating with local mobile operator MTN, to provide 6,000 ‘well-programmed’ phones for farmers to detect cocoa diseases under its teleagric program.
Teleagric is Kuapa Kokoo’s scheme that involves the use of new communication technology to transfer agric extension services between farmers and experts for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases.
“Kuapa Kokoo has come a long way to attain this feat and we will do our utmost best using our newly acquired technological tools such as the teleagric and other tools to sustain this in a more sustainable manner,” said Samuel Adimado, MTN’s managing director.
With the mobile phones, cocoa farmers will be able to scan cocoa trees, detect any disease and call for experts to provide immediate solutions.
Fatima Ali, the newly-elected president of the Kuapa Kokoo Farmers Union (KKFU), an offshoot of the company, told local press the target was to reach out to approximately 100,000 of its cocoa farmers.
Ali said a toll-free hotline service center had been created to respond to farmers promptly in providing expert advice.
As part of other new measures, she told local reporters there were plans to roll out a manufacturing processing plant to convert the cocoa beans into exportable products, including chocolate.
The KFU is also helping farmers with an income diversification program, which includes planting alternative crops such as coffee and yam, so that farmers are not entirely dependent on cocoa for their livelihood.