Meet Esoko & NYU’s Center For Technology and Economic Development


Using data to help Ghanaian farmers
make a living.

Farmers in sub-Saharan Africa face a host of problems related to marketing, key among which is a lack of information about prevailing market prices. This affects farmers’ ability to decide where and when to sell, compromises farmers’ bargaining position with traders, and can even lead to sub-optimal investment and production decisions.

Center For Technology and Economic Development at NYU

Who are Esoko & CTED?

Esoko, a private startup based in Ghana, has set out to inform Ghanaian farmers of pricing in their local markets via text messages. To measure the effectiveness of the service, a team of economists from NYU’s Center For Technology and Economic Development (CTED) conducted a randomized control trial involving 1000 farmers in Ghana.

The Data Challenge

In order to conduct their surveys with Ghanaian farmers, CTED found paper to be the only feasible way to collect data. Primarily, with short time and limited oversight to set up surveys, researchers did not have time to train enumerators to use mobile tools nor the on-site presence to maintain the mobile technology. They had control over the paper and could entrust thousands of paper surveys to project enumerators knowing that nothing would get in the way of them doing their work. But, when CTED students set out to enter the data from the surveys manually, they ran into a host of problems with time, cost and accuracy.

After Captricity: The CTED team completed the entire 1000 form baseline in under 4 days.

Center For Technology and Economic Development at NYU

The Data Solution

When Esoko and the CTED began using Captricity to capture the information they collected on the paper surveys, their processing turnaround time for one thousand forms dropped from over a month to under four days. Captricity was also able to help CTED cut down on data entry worker cost and increase data accuracy and quality.


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