The coordinator of Angie Brooks International Center for Women’s Empowerment, Cllr. Yvette Chesson Wureh, has said a project called Trade At Hand will begin operations next year to improve agriculture in the country.
She made the disclosure recently in an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer at her office in Monrovia.
Cllr. Chesson explained that the Trade at Hand is a business marketing solution which matches traders, farmers and marketers to trade using the telephone.
She asserted that it is an innovative mobile solution for better business and trade in Liberia which was first initiated at the International Colloquium in March 2009.
The project was officially launched by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on July 25, 2011 in Voinjama City, Lofa County under the theme: ‘Gain your independence with Trade at Hand.’
Since then, ABIC has made follow ups to ensure the full implementation of the project but the program came to a stand still following the deadly Ebola outbreak.
The project enables agribusiness producers, transporters and small traders to be able to link with each other through the phone system, matching offer with demand and vice-versa.
The project is funded by the International Trade Centre, Geneva, while the Ministries of Agriculture, Youth and Sports, Commerce and the Lonestar Cell Company are providing support.
She asserted that the Trade at Hand will make business easy for farmers in the country through linking cell phones because some counties, including Lofa, Grand Bassa, Bong, and Margibi have been trained how to use their phones and promised to create more awareness to transform the sector.
The project she said is targeting local farmers in the entire fifteen counties with focus on helping farmers make profits from their farms.
“The issue of farm to market is a serious problem for our farmers in that after harvesting their produce, it takes more days and time to have them in the market, and sometimes before the produce get to the market, they are damaged. Another problem is that marketers at Gobachop Market in Paynesville wait for the farmers to harvest and transport their produce to the markets and they pay only a small amount for the goods.
“Our women run after a car when it is moving, they will throw their lappers on a bag which means that it belongs to them. Sometimes they are wounded, but with the Trade at Hand, the farmers will harvest their produce, use the phones to buy and they will press number 1 to buy, 2 to sell their produce. After pressing those numbers, the following information will show up, indicating 1 for potato greens, 2 for cassava leaf, 3 collard greens and the list goes on,” Cllr. Chesson said.
She explained that the Trade at Hand will also allow both buyers and sellers a quick, easy and convenient way to a better way of life, indicating that all that is needed for the buyer or seller is to listen to the options and select their choice with the phone keys and there are also numbers to dial for transportation.