GIZ-SMS engages media on their Covid-19 response project and its impact on farmers

The German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ-SMS) has engaged the Ghanaian media on the overall impact of their Covid-19 response project that saw to the mitigation of the immediate health and economic impact on cocoa smallholder farmers in Ghana, Purefmonline.con reports.

At a brief event held at the True Vine Hotel in Kumasi on June 30, 2020, some cocoa farmers shared their testimony of how they’ve been able to produce certified cocoa for premium markets despite the rampaging effects of the Coronavirus.

They testified that through GIZ-SMS Covid-19 response project, provisions were made for the extension of services and of access to resources they required to increase productivity and improve their livelihoods.

“Access to farm inputs, markets, and financial resources were provided to us through this program and we are very grateful to GIZ. We can only ask for more of initiatives like these to continue to advance our livelihoods. We thank them for helping us to sustain our means of survival.” A small scale cocoa farmer shared.

On the part of GIZ-SMS, it chronicled to the media the various measures they executed to mitigate the losses of the farmers.

“With the onset of COVID-19 and the social restrictions put in place by the government, SMS implemented the following measures to continually support farmers‘ livelihoods (in areas and aspects allowed by communities), while keeping their safety and health a priority: Safeguarding health of farming communities by developing health information modules on COVID-19 and implementing awareness campaigns across all farmer societies through the company’s
field staff (including voice calls to farmers).

We also reduced group training participation number and intensified one-to-one
coaching as alternative to group training in areas where community restrictions were tight.

We Partnered with stakeholders including NGOs and government agencies,
to implement community development programs in cocoa-growing

We initiated a service delivery which was done through a network of field staff and
supervisors (officers, coordinators) who worked directly with farmers and community members.”

“Again, we developed means to deliver remote services with the aid of technology (i.e. SMS, voice messaging, radio, community information centers).

GIZ-SMS worked with COCOBOD to distribute 1,000,000 soap bars to the 5,000 cocoa communities where SMS operates in Ghana
to safeguard health of SMS staff.

We additionally made a delivery of pre-approved COVID-19 information through WhatsApp platform to field teams and mandated hygiene protocols to minimize spread and infection (i.e., set up
hand-washing stations in the office, social distancing and work from home set up, and distributed gloves, hand sanitizers and masks).

Our sole objective of which we achieved and you have heard in the various testimonies so far was to deploy awareness-raising campaign that would lead to improved application of protective measures against Covid-19 among target farmers in Ghana.

Disseminating information on COVID-19 and income diversification to increase farmers’ awareness on how they can protect themselves. And a monitoring mechanism to track farmer adoption on how they are keeping safe and observing safety precautions while they conduct their farm operations.

This was largely achieved through our incentive mechanism which was tied to the adoption of safety and health practices eventually culminating to the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 virus and ensuring sustainable income.”

The event was graced by officials of ECOM-SMS, representatives of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, an official of COCOBOD, the Ghana Health Service and the CEO of Bisa Technologies Ltd who all took turns to address the media of the positive impact of the GIZ-SMS Covid-19 response intervention.

Here are some exclusive pictures captured from the event.

Source:|| 2022

Evans Osei-Bonsu

Evans is a radio producer @PureFM (95.7MHz) under the Angel Broadcasting Network (ABN Ghana), writer, student of Law and Politics at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).

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