Ghana To Employ Mobile Phone Application In Agric Extension Service Delivery

Consultations over the deployment of mobile phone application in agricultural extension services to farmers, specifically fisher folks is being discussed with the telecommunications in the country, says the Fisheries Commission.

“Even with the crops extension service, there are still some challenges. One of the things is to go electronic, with the mobile phone; we will link up with the telecommunication companies to come up with some programmes so that we can send messages to fishermen, fish processors, because these people are using mobile phones,” says Mr Thomas K insaidoo, the commission’s deputy director in charge of projects.

“We can also use it for enforcement, where there will be hotlines where people can provide information, report to the fisheries enforcement unit any illegal activities on the sea. They will be roll out this year and will be in the local languages,” he stated at a stakeholders meeting organised by Development Action Association (DAA) and Business Sector Advocacy Challenge Fund (BUSAC) in Accra.

“As I talk to you now, we have received five communication vans and we are going to do fisheries to fisheries extension. So we are trying to solve the problem”.

Mr Insaidoo says a university has been engaged to come out with a programme to train the commission’s fisheries staff in fisheries and aquaculture extension services.

Unlike crops extension service which has enjoyed some delivery to farmers with farming techniques, the same cannot be said about fisheries extension delivery in the country.

“It is because of the way fisheries in the country developed. We have not had a consistent policy regime, I mean at one point in time we were a department under Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), at another point we are a ministry. So because of that erratic situation we could not concretise or plan, but by the grace of God we have now become stable for some time.

“When this government came, we have been given a ministerial status and started coming out with programmes. For instance the West Africa regional project-one component is to develop the extension capability of staff and reorganise the whole commission to become robust and competent in managing the fisheries. It is because of this unstable organisational status that is why we have not done much, but if we have a stable environment, I think we can put all these things in place,” he said.

A study conducted by the BUSAC and DAA revealed that fish processors lack access to agricultural extension service. According to him, the recommendations from the study would be taken on board.

“Some of them we have started working on them so by the end of the year, we will be able to satisfy some of their demands, talk of extension training are being catered for.

“They are genuine concerns and they are not new demands. Last year we were talking about the project funding some offices where we will equip them with technologies on fisheries management. These days we are talking about participatory management more than people coming from Accra, so for the start government will provide the personnel for extension services but gradually the fisher folk will act as trainers of trainers to train others in modern fisheries technologies”, he emphasised.

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