Advisory and financial services for cocoa and oil palm smallholders in Ghana

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Sat4Business aimed to test and validate a portfolio of services, ranging from advice on better agricultural practices to financial services. These services are critical for de-risking smallholder farmers through access to digital finance and the elimination of information asymmetry.

The primary target group for Sat4Business services are smallholder cocoa and oil palm farmers in seven regions (Eastern, Central, Western, Western North, Ashanti, Bono and Ahafo) of Ghana. The secondary target groups are service providers (SMEs) and financial services providers (FSPs). Sat4Business focussed especially on young and female farmers. Youth plays a key role in the future of cocoa, especially because over 55% of Ghanaian cocoa farmers are older than 50 years.

The Sat4Business partners were Solidaridad Europe (a global network organisation with main office in the Netherlands – lead partner), Akvo (a Dutch data services and tech solutions provider), Esoko (a technology and deployment company with a branch in Ghana), Financial Access (a rural agri-insurance company based in the Netherlands), the Ghanaian Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Satelligence (a Dutch remote sensing company) and Solidaridad West Africa (Ghana).

Provided services

Sat4Business offers advisory services and financial services. The advisory services consist of crop management advice, fertiliser advice, good agricultural practices, location information (on pastures and water), market information, pest and disease information and advice, weather information, and crowdsourcing for input dealers and financial service providers. Advice on good agricultural practices is (until now) rated as the most important service by farmers. The financial services relate to credit scoring and provision of loans.

The services are provided to the farmers through radio broadcasts, phone text messages (SMS), voice messages (IVR) and a call centre operated by Esoko. Capacity building and face-to-face meetings are also important communication elements.

Three different IT-platforms are in use to provide the services, by Solidaridad, Financial Access and Esoko. The aim is to integrate them into one Sat4Business platform. Satelligence already integrated an agricultural insights bundle, based on satellite information, and a web viewer into the Solidaridad platform.

Business model

The business model focuses on the monetisation of all the Sat4Business activities. This includes the leveraging of satellite, farmer-level and value chain data to provide actionable (marketing and credit risk) insights to businesses active in the cocoa and palm oil value chains as well as to financial service providers (FSPs) in the smallholder farmers segment.

The business model is a combination of subscription by farmers and a revenue model for financial service providers and agribusiness that is a combination of a subscription and freemium model, supplemented by advertising. To support the creation of a successful business case a social enterprise, called Green Cred Limited, was established.

The initial projections are that the business case could be feasible in the future, but that sufficient scale is needed with more than one million subscribers to make the business profitable. This can be realised by expanding activities to at least five countries in West Africa.


Financial Access is currently developing an input financing scheme together with Advans Ghana, a financial service provider, and Solidaridad WAF in the palm oil sector. New services can be added to the Sat4Business portfolio and a combination with services provided by others can be made to add new customer segments. The main impact is in the improvement of access for people living at the bottom of the economic pyramid. At least 45,000 food producers have made use of the Sat4Business services during the project period. Special attention has been given to women and youth, e.g. by working with village savings and loan associations (VSLAs).


The Sat4Business consortium brings together seven public and private organizations, each with their own expertise.

  • Solidaridad Europe (Netherlands)
  • Akvo (Netherlands)
  • Esoko (Ghana)
  • Financial Access (Netherlands)
  • Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) (Ghana)
  • Satelligence (Netherlands)
  • Solidaridad West Africa (Ghana)
ServicesAgricultural input loansCrop management adviceFarmer profile informationMarket information
Target groupsFarmer (smallholders)Financial service provider
Project period2019-2022