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The Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency said its information hotline project for small scale farmers, launched three months ago, has been a success because they have met their goals.
According to the data available at the agency, over 1.5 million people, 60 percent whom were farmers, used the agricultural hotline.
Even though the harvesting season has not started yet the agency feels it will positively affect productivity.
“We cannot say anything about the impact. But the large number of calls coming from people working or affected by farming shows us the hunger for specific information from farmers. No project in the country has ever experienced this number of calls,” Kalid Bomba the agency’s CEO said last Wednesday during a press briefing at its headquarters.
The free call hotline, 8028, provides farmers with information about pre-planting, planting, crop protection and fertilizing crops.
Because there is a high demand the agency is planning to continue the project via video so that more people will use the service. Currently, the service utilizeds three different languages (Amharic Tigrigna and Oromifa).
One person who educates farmers and was at the event said more people need to be made aware that the service is free.
“Farmers in the area do not believe the service is free so we need to show them by calling ourselves,” he said.
The agency wants more people to use the service and is trying to promote it via a nationwide radio marketing campaign. According to Kalid, the agency plans to work with as many partners as possible to increase the outreach. At the event, a representative from Live Ethiopia expressed his organization’s interest in working with the agency. “We were looking for related projects in Kenya and other neighboring countries so we are happy to find one here,” he said.