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Changing behaviour in small-holder communities

Just under half of Ghana’s population works in agriculture and most people in rural areas depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. These predominantly small-holder farmers face many challenges, from food insecurity and rising poverty to lack of access to markets. To increase the productivity, profitability, and sustainability of their farms, farmers needed to be adopting yield-enhancing technologies and practices - but the problem was, they weren’t.

ThinkPlace worked with the Grameen Foundation, Farm Radio International and Digital Green to find new ways to improve the reach and adoption of ‘New Alliance’ technologies and good agricultural practices amongst smallholder farmers in Ghana.

New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (New Alliance) is a partnership that combines the capacities and interests of various organisations to tackle constraints to inclusive agriculture-led growth in Africa, using a series of new technologies.

What we did was look at the role ICT could play to supplement and expand the existing face-to-face methods of agricultural extension and support. We travelled to communities across Ghana and conducted in-depth interviews with farmers, private and government agents, aggregators, community leaders and other stakeholders.

Through a series of innovation workshops we used our research insights, personas and system mapping to generate ideas for change, which were co-designed by stakeholders into key concepts. Part of the solution encourages broadcast media to focus on a handful of technologies and coordinate related content and messages across radio, TV and community group sessions.

The solution also gives leaders on the ground useful tools and materials for targeted media campaigns, with access via IVR, SMS or a smartphone app. This enables leaders to coordinate their extension activities with the campaigns, to encourage farmers to first try the new technologies - then adopt them.

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Grameen Foundation, Farm Radio International and Digital Green

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