One of the objectives of the WCF Cocoa Livelihoods Program is to develop and scale up new innovations and best practices in extension services to farmers. The Program is very excited about the progress being made in the pilot being carried out in partnership with Digital Green (www.digitalgreen.org) in Ghana to train farmers in good agricultural practices. Digital Green has developed cost effective, participatory extension model using locally developed training videos, shown with hand held video players to train cocoa farmers about improved production practices. In partnership with the CLP Business Service Center in New Edubiase, Ghana, a team of four local farmers along with COCOBOD and Ministry of Agriculture agents have already produced a number of training videos ranging from shade management and pruning to the correct use of fertilizer in a cocoa field.
The videos are in the local language and feature many community farmers in the videos. This past November, the Digital Green team returned to Ghana to train twelve local facilitators in video dissemination. Over the next nine months, these facilitators will be training small groups of 15-30 cocoa farmers ranging on cocoa production using the videos produced. The Digital Green technology has also created a unique analytics tool and ‘farmerbook’ which captures information about the success of the interventions in the field. The pilot has been such a success to date that there is talk about scaling up in Cote d’Ivoire!