Will it rain tomorrow?
As a farmer in a remote part of Ghana, this question is very difficult to answer. Here, there is no 3G coverage and access to the internet is very limited.
Farmers own a mobile phone, however, it is not a smartphone. Voice calls and text messages remain their main means of communication.
This observation was made by Alloysius Attah, a young Ghanaian entrepreneur who grew up on a farm.
In a country where almost 50% of the population depends on agriculture, Alloysius created Farmerline to "connect farmers to information, markets and services".
A knowledge of farmers' needs and an intelligent use of telecoms helped him to find solutions to fight against the lack of information. Farmers can receive weather reports by sending an SMS to a simple number (otherwise known as shortcodes), 399. A set of automatically managed scenarios is then triggered by SMS.
However, this is not all: farmers can also check market prices, sell their products or receive personalised advice. All of this can be done with a phone call! Pre-recorded voice messages in the local language are sent to the user's phone. All they have to do is dial Farmerline's number. This is another set of automated scenarios, this time in voice format.
Therefore, Alloysius has been able to take advantage of two telecom tools, the "programmable voice" and the "A2P SMS" (Application to person), in order to improve the situation in his country. Discover more examples of these techniques in our article "5 Smart Examples on How to Use Programmable Voice".