MDP Nadya Bucklin on Picture Impact project in Ghana

During my six weeks in Ghana, my team and I met with multiple stakeholders in the agricultural sphere, for an agricultural contracting project with Picture Impact, a human-centered design studio based in Minneapolis, MN. We had conversations with agribusinesses, government institutions, development organizations, and farmers, to gain knowledge around the current agricultural contracting systems and assess the feasibility of using picture-based contracts to increase farmers' contractual understanding in areas with low literacy. The interviews and our other modes of research helped us gain understanding of agriculture in Ghana, agricultural contracting, the issues faced by farmers, and specifically the issues surrounding agricultural contracting -- including reactions and feedback to the idea of a picture-based contract. Additionally, we did market research in figuring out what entities would be interested in investing in a picture-based contract.

Our work started in Accra, where we did initial research and got in contact with various organizations to start setting up meetings and interviews. After about one week in Accra, we set out for Tamale in the Northern Region, where we met with agribusinesses and government institutions. As the agricultural center of Ghana, Tamale was an important location for our agricultural and market research. After two weeks in Tamale, we went further north to Wa, a smaller community in the Upper West region. Wa also has a lot of agriculture and the highest rate of illiteracy in Ghana, making it an important location for our research. Here we had the opportunity to talk with multiple farmers and farmer leaders to get the other side of the contracting story and see some of the farms. After two weeks in Wa, we headed back to Accra for our final week of meetings with agribusinesses and ag-focused development organizations, in order to finish out our market research portion of the project and debrief as a team.

We were able to gain a lot of useful information from the key stakeholders of this project. Many of our agribusiness interviewees were receptive to the idea of a picture-based contract, claiming it will be very useful to farmers’ understanding as well as their own work and relationships with the farmers. Additional insight from the farmers themselves was essential for us to get a better understanding of the current contracting practices and issues in agriculture. Our work in the field has given us a more informed perspective on the feasibility and utility of implementing picture-based agricultural contracts in Ghana.    

Here are some photos of the environment. Maize fields, one just getting planted.

Nadya Bucklin
Master of Development Practice (MDP) candidate
University of Minnesota
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