About 662 women farmer groups from 190 communities in the Upper West Region have been introduced to an audio technology dubbed, the “Talking Book” to help boost their production.
The technology, which contains recorded messages on best agricultural practices on soya bean production, health and nutrition, gender issues, and best financial practices on the Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA), is being provided by the Mennonite Economic Development Associate (MEDA), in collaboration with Literacy Bridge Ghana.
The 20-million-dollar Greater Rural Opportunity for Women (GROW) project is been funded by the Canadian Government through its Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, with the aim of empowering women for income sustainability and enhanced food security among families in rural communities.
Key facilitating partners in the project, include Community Aid for Rural Development (CARD), ProNet North, and the Center for the Alleviation of Poverty, Environment and Child Support (CAPECS). The Tumu Deanery Rural Integrated Development Programme (TUDRIDEP) and Partnership for Rural Development Action (PRUDA) are also supporting the project.
Mr. Livinus Balog, the Coordinator of the MEDA Programme, at a training session in Wa, said the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) had limited Agricultural Extension Officers to meet the needs of farmers, hence, the need for the technology.
He said the messages, which were recorded in the local languages by experts in extension services, would help the women even better as they would have the opportunity to listen to the messages repeatedly in the comfort of their homes.
Mr. Balog said the technology was piloted during the 2014 crop season in eight communities in the Lambussie-Karni District, which made a lot of impact, hence, the need to scale up to cover other communities across all districts of the Region.
He said the project focused on women because a previous feasibility studies had shown that women in the Region contributed significantly to household income.
Mr. Andy Bayor, an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Manager for Literacy Bridge Ghana, told the farmers the technology was a simple tool that could be used by both literates and illiterates.
He said all messages were recorded in Dagaari, which made it easier for the beneficiaries to understand the message and apply it in their farms to increase crop yield.
The Talking Book technology also helps women to understand some gender issues to enhance cooperation among families, promote health and nutritional values among them; and helps them to know some best financial practices. GNA