Aug 20, 2014, 10:21 AM
ActionAid International The Gambia has presented mobile phones to farmers for use in the sharing of market information.
The initiative is part of a broader intervention in agricultural marketing that ActionAid will be engaged in to eliminate long transaction chains, lack of transparency and standards and insufficient market access which result in low incomes for women farmers.
Thirty-two farmer organisations in the Central, Upper River, North Bank and West Coast regions as well as the Kanifing Municipality benefitted from the donation.
“With these phones, we hope to link these organizations effectively so that they are better coordinated both in production and marketing. This is quite critical for small-holder farmers particularly the women who are not often very exposed. We hope to expand this as an effective means of communication between the farmers and other stakeholders,” said Kujejatou Manneh, Executive Director of ActionAid International The Gambia.
The mobile phones were presented to ActionAid by Telenor, a telecommunications company based in Scandinavia in response, to an appeal for assistance to those affected by the 2011/2012 drought and food shortages.
Speaking at the various presentation ceremonies held in Banjulunding, Somita, Kudang, Fass and Kerewan, ActionAid’s Head of Communications, Jainaba Nyang-Njie, representing her Executive Director, told the farmers that the mobile phones provide an opportunity to have critical market data.
The impact of the phones, according to Mrs. Nyang-Njie can help reduce price variations and create equilibrium in the markets, a fact re-echoed by Njaga Jawo – Director of the National Women Farmers Association, NAWFA, Momodouwuri Jallow, ActionAid’s Food Rights Manager, and Karamo Kinteh of ADWAC.
They told the farmers that the phones can help them better coordinate their farming activities to overcome their marketing challenges.
“These phones are very important to us,” said Mai Bojang of Brufut Alatentu Kambeng Kafo, the first organization to receive the phones. “We go to the markets every day without knowing beforehand, what is available there and how much it costs.
“These phones will help us to know the price before selling,” she concluded. Sutay Sanyang of Somita Konko Keleh kafo said. “The phones will improve the communication between women farmers as we can now contact each other for the pricing of our products,” while Amie Satou Secka of the Poultry Farmers Association and Foday Sowe of Niamina West Yiriwa Kafo both emphasized the important use of the phones in running the affairs of their organisations.
All those who spoke used the occasion to thank ActionAid for its quick response to the 2011/2012 crop failures and food shortages when the agency donated rice, oil, sugar and other food items to those affected.
At the presentation ceremony in Kudang, Bakary Fadera, ActionAid’s Programme Manager based there urged the farmers to use the phones for their intended purpose and to protect them for their own benefit. All the phone recipients were also given some money to buy a SIM card and credit, and were urged to share their phone numbers after registering their SIM cards.
The numbers will be shared among themselves and with ActionAid to facilitate easy communication.