Caleb Ahinakwah writes: Two Ghanaians develop new technology to help farmers

Two Ghanaians, a farmer and a programmer have created a new streamlined system to help farmers

Agriculture has always existed in one form or another for as long as anybody can remember. In the way we know it today, it could have been around for almost 12,000 years.

Incredible, right?

So, how can this age-old field be enhanced and elevated to new heights?

How can we enhance the outcomes of various agricultural operations while also improving the lives of individuals who spend their time farming, sowing, and cultivating the food and supplements that we all require?

Well, the answer is quite simple, and hundreds of people are working to produce new creative and unique solutions in this field: coding.

In modern agriculture, innovation is more crucial than ever. The sector as a whole is confronted with significant issues, including growing supply costs, labour shortages, and shifting consumer desires for transparency and sustainability.

Agriculture firms are increasingly recognizing the need for answers to these problems.

Agriculture technology has witnessed a massive increase in investment over the previous six years.

The Ministry for Agric in Ghana for instance was allocated a total budget of GHC501.502 million in 2016, GHC759.680 million in 2017, GHC900.420 million in 2018 and GHC1,186,521 in 2019 making it quite evident that as it evolves a lot of investments are being made.

Indoor vertical farming, automation and robotics, livestock technology, current greenhouse methods, precision agriculture and artificial intelligence, and blockchain have all seen significant technological advancements in the industry.

Two Ghanaians, a farmer and a programmer have created a new streamlined system to help farmers.

The mobile application, called “Duapa”, was created with the collaboration of Joseph Dickson, Founder and CEO of international Conglomerate Solutions (ICS) Limited, and Evans Larbi, Director for BEIT Farms.

The idea for the app came from Evan’s frustrations with record-keeping inefficiencies and complicated digitizing of information.

By bringing together Evan’s farming knowledge and Dickson’s programming abilities, as well as some assistance from other team members from ICS, they’ve created a simple and efficient solution for farmers all over the continent.

The mobile application, “duapa”, is designed to help farmers make better decisions along the agribusiness value chain by providing timely production information, a marketing platform, and advising (extension services).

“Duapa” is focusing on enabling farmers to receive real-time, effective, efficient and instant answers to various queries, apply for microcredit (soft loans), apply for crop insurance, buy agro-inputs, sell farm produce in (small & large quantities) to perceptive buyers, with a secured payment and transport system.

For Evans, the most critical aspect of DUAPA is efficiency: “At this stage what we are looking at as a team is to find the relevant stakeholders and service providers and integrate their services on the app. So that the registered farmers on the app can have access to them being it agro-input, microcredit, crop insurance.”

For Joseph Dickson, it was all teamwork: “We are ten in number, six developers, four administrative staff. We had a front end, backend and mobile app developers. The backend developer sees the transactional parts of the application. It’s an all-around team.”

Within a month this new piece of technology registered over 3000 farmers.

The dream doesn’t just end here, Evans Larbi hinted at entering a partnership with a mobile phone company based overseas to integrate the application to create a farmer-friendly interface.

“We are starting with 150 farmers, the phones are on the way coming to enable every farmer in Ghana to have access.”

For those without smartphones, a USSD code will be disclosed for farmers to also use.
The future certainly gets better, more exciting, and more worthwhile.

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