Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Interview with Gabby Awumey, a farmer and a beneficiary of facility

Mr Awumey shared his experience and benefits as a farmer from the facility at the opening of the Hohoe Agribusiness Information Point in Hohoe in the Volta Region of Ghana on the 7th of November 2006.
On the 7th of November, 2007 the Daily Graphic published a story referring to a large glut of Maize of roughly 500,00 maxi bags lying in stock at the Afram Plains without buyers and even if there were buyers, they would buy at very low prices leaving the farmer poorer. Situations like this are not limited to the Afram Plains or to the Hohoe District alone: it is a common phenomenon all over Africa and would continue as long as buyers and sellers do not have accurate and timely Information on what is available, where, at what prices and who to contact.
About 3 years ago, USAID made available $11m to IFDC and challenged them to improve Agricultural market informaation systems that will help increase trade in Agricultural products. As a follow-up to this, an electronic trading platform was developed and about $1m was used to equip producer and trader associations in Computers and Internet connectivity. The project spent thousands of Dollars to do series of targeted training for producer and trader associations, members as well as MOFA staff to learn new skills in the use of the Computer. Several thousands of people belonging to producer and trader associations in West Africa benefited from training opportunities in the use of the Computer and Internet.
Today, they are not only capable of using the Computer and browsing the Internet but are also able to send and receive emails from their business partners and are using their cellular phones to enquire about prices and find buyers. The Hohoe District Agri-Business Information Point(ABIP) is one of the 150 being set up in the west African sub-region to revolutionalise the way we use the Computer and our Cellular phones. The ABIP will be used for training, browsing and a centre where people can walk in and register their cellular phones to receive or send Information on trade opportunities, alerts, prices and contacts.

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