Over 5,000 farmers benefit from GIZ-SMS COVID-19 Response project

Kumasi, July 01, GNA – Over 5,000 smallholder cocoa farmers in the country have benefitted from the ‘GIZ-SMS COVID-19 Response Project’.

They received items ranging from nose masks, hand sanitizers, hand washing facilities, soap, Wellington boots and gloves.

The objective is to encourage increased adoption of COVID-19 health protocols and safety measures that mitigate the risk of spreading the virus in rural communities.

Mr. Francis Ahiamatah, the Programmes Manager for Sustainable Management Service (SMS), a subsidiary of ECOM Agrotrade Limited, said the Project sought to mitigate immediate health and economic impacts on cocoa smallholder farmers.

Addressing a closing ceremony to signal the end of the ‘GIZ-SMS COVID-19 Response Project’, in Kumasi, he said the initiative was implemented in five regions, 15 districts and 208 communities across the country.

The regions are Ashanti, Eastern, Central, Bono and Western-North.

Mr. Ahiamatah said the one-year project was implemented through the provision of timely and relevant health and economic information to farmers.

The information was delivered through remote channels including radio and interactive voice response (IVR), videos, and community information centres.

The German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) funded the project, with technical support from the Ghana Health Service (GHS), and deployed awareness-raising campaign that would lead to improved application of protective measures against COVID-19 among target farmers in Ghana.

Mr. Ahiamatah said the Biometric Identification System for Access (BISA), a partner of the project, led in the recording and deployment of the IVR messages directly to the farmers.

Service delivery was done through a network of field staff and supervisors, who worked directly with the farmers and community members.

Mr. Paul Armah, a farmer and beneficiary of the project, explained that the farmers were frightened to get vaccinated due to the rumours associated with the vaccines, but were relieved after series of engagements.

He expressed gratitude to all the partners for helping the farmers to know the value of their health and well-being.

Source: Ghana News Agency