Nut Farmers in Ghana Crack into Mobile Technology
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Today is a day that I’ve been anticipating for weeks; ever since I found out I was going to host a group of international reporters in Ghana. My thoughts have ranged from excitement to anxiety to trepidation and back around again. After extensive preparation in the form of vaccinations, planning, research and shopping, the time to execute is finally here.
As I get ready to join, host and escort nine international journalists through Ghana, a country that I’ve never been to and until recently would have had trouble finding on a map, my adrenaline-laden emotions have switched to pure excitement. It’s funny how the mind works.
I’ve already formed certain expectations, some of which I’m sure will be met and others exceeded. I’m looking forward to finding out how and in what ways. As an SAP colleague, who is joining the trip and is already onsite, said to me in an email yesterday, “I am so excited ….today we went live with our mobile application in the field. It was an amazing feeling to experience this high tech project in this super rural place, where I was standing with a donkey cart.”
That’s what I’m expecting – to see how SAP is empowering Ghanaian farmers, primarily women, with mobile technology delivered in the cloud, to provide a (more) secure income. As we travel to Tamale, in Northern Ghana, we’ll see how SAP is collaborating with PlaNet Finance, an international microfinance organization, to create opportunity for women, who are operating at the base of the pyramid, to become successful entrepreneurs.
We will then visit Wenchi, in Western Ghana, to see how SAP and the African Cashew initiative (ACi) are supporting small-scale farmers with innovative technology that benefits actors along the entire agricultural value chain. The farmers are using SAP smart phone apps to get access to farmer information, cashew buying and loading and market information. The software allows traceability in the supply chain between farmers, manufacturing companies and wholesale trade. People on the ground can also use a geographical information system that displays farmer contact data, farm size and location, tree inventory and price information, which makes it easier to forecast and optimize cashew collection.