The E-Commerce for Non-Traditional Exports Project being implemented by
the Ministry of Food & Agriculture, Ghana, and supported by the
International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD) seeks

"provide efficient promotion and increased market transparency to
improve the negotiation position for small and medium scaled producers
and exporters/traders of non-traditional exports in the local and
international markets by the bringing together of the supply of and
demand for critical marketing information at the local level".

Ultimately, the project aims at enhancing the standard of living of
small and medium scaled producers and traders in rural areas in Ghana.

In practice, the project aims at providing Internet-based (or
alternative) marketing information services to small producers and
traders/exporters of Ghanaian non-traditional export products. Apart
from providing information, producers and traders can promote their
products via the web-based information system. On longer term, the
information system will develop into a market place for supply and
demand of products. The system will as such provide better access to
export markets. In addition it will function as a market place for the
national market.

In meeting the set out aims above, one of the main activities of the
project was to set up what is call "District Agricultural Information
Centres (DAIC) in the districts.  These centres are the information
access points for the producers and traders/exporters.  Connectivity has
been the main challenge for this project, considering the fact that
infrastructure in general is limited to the major cities in the country.

Computers with mostly dial-up internet connections have been set up in
most of these centers.  Although the dial-up is slow and expensive,
considering the fact that users have to make a trunk call to the capital
city, it is the cheapest connectivity so far.

Some areas are without telephone facilities at all. In these cases, the
project is experimenting with some radio equipment that is able to
transfer a telephone link from a range of up to 100km and can carry data
at speeds up to 32 kbps. The other altenative being used is to send the
information on CD ROMS to these centres.

Recently (Sept. 2003), the District Assembly (DA) in one of the
districts (Twifo Heman Lower Denkyira District Assembly) in the Central
Region has put up a VSAT for internet and voice telephony for mostly the
government departments in the district. This is a breakthrough that will
be replicated at other districts if it works well. The major problem
being considered here is the ability of the DA to pay for the recurrent
costs (which are quite high in our part of the world).

The main people expected to use this system are the few schools in the
area, a couple of Banks and some agro-based industries in the district.
These are expected to contribute to the payment of the recurrent costs.
It is expected that if this cost issue is worked out well, it will
greatly open up the district because information, which is the
life-blood for development, will be available to all.

This DOT-COM Discussion is funded by the dot-ORG USAID Cooperative
Agreement, and hosted by GKD. provides
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