How does Farm Radio International Expand?

Farm Radio is a non-profit organization based out of Canada that works with radio broadcasters to help improve food security and certain modes of agriculture for small African farmers.  Here’s an example video of how to program works

After watching this video I understood the basics of how the Farm Radio program works to help farmers gain knowledge and information on crops and food that they would have not otherwise had in small parts of Africa.  The video did seem slightly puzzling as to who the audience was targeted towards.  It seems as though the target audience is for a very “dummed-down” English speaking individual that would be a potential donor.  If farmers in these rural parts of Africa don’t have the technology to understand information about the crops they are dealing with, then how would they be able to view this video that explains to them how Farm Radio International works in a simplistic manner. 

After looking over the Farm Radio International’s website it is shown that the organization works with a great deal of individuals across Africa.  It is great to see that the organization realizes the technological capacity that is present in Africa, with 76% of African farmers with access to a radio set and only 3% with access to Internet.  My only question here is how does Farm Radio International expand to reach a larger population in a continent in which food is so scarce.

 Here’s the link to their website: http://www.farmradio.org/
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2 responses to “How does Farm Radio International Expand?

  • Katherine Walraven

    Hi Sam,

    Thanks for your interest in Farm Radio International. We’re happy that you’ve come across our work in your Information & Communication Technology for Development course.

    The video you came across is one of 4 created for us in 2008 by Story Workshop, a production house in Malawi. Here are links to the other 3 that accompany the one you came across, which is the second in the series.

    1) Bokash Manure: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0KRenzDjwg
    3) In the field: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbbLSL8PhjU
    4) Pesticide: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ID2UDGuI7a0

    The idea was to create dramatizations that show the kind of work we support through our resources and training for African farm radio broadcasters. The target audience was not African farmers, but individuals and groups in North America who are interested in our work. The farmers who access our resources do so through the radio.

    Over the years, we have sent our broadcasting partners a number of resources focused on using neem leaves to control pests and reduce post-harvest loss that they then share with tens of millions of listening farmers.

    You can find them all here: http://www.farmradio.org/?rrp=neem&submit=Search&post_type=radio-resource-packs&post_parent=0&tax%5Bscript-categories%5D=&date=0&tax%5Bscript-format%5D=&lang=en

    This is a particularly good one from way back in 1996: http://www.farmradio.org/radio-resource-packs/package-42/save-your-own-seeds-part-two-seed-storage/

    If you’d like to explore all of the resources we’ve created and distributed over the years, please see this page: http://www.farmradio.org/broadcaster-resources/

    You closed your blog post with a question about how we expand to reach the populations who need the services we provide. To answer your question, we do this through our network of radio broadcasting partners. When Farm Radio International got started back in 1979, we had 34 partner radio stations. Today we have over 500 across 38 countries, with more signing on every day. With each station reaching thousands of listeners, we’re able to reach tens of millions of farmers. We send our resources by mail to those stations that don’t have access to the internet, and by email to those that do. They then customize and translate the resources to meet local needs and contexts.

    I hope this response has answered your questions. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’d like to know more about our work and partnership model. Email us at anytime at info@farmradio.org or reach out to us on Twitter (@farmradio) or Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/farmradio). We’d love to hear from you.

    All of the best and thanks for your post,

    Katherine

  • briannasteinmetz

    Farm Radio International is an excellent example of an ICT4D program that relies on existing technology (the radio) to disperse valuable agriculture information to farmers throughout Africa. At first I was a little confused on how Farm Radio was able to reach so many different areas in Africa as the languages and problems the farmers face can differ drastically. However, Katherine’s comment explained how they partner with local radio stations, disperse the information, and allow the local radio to customize the information to address the local needs. This project encompasses several of the best practices we have discussed in class including using existing technology, understanding local contexts, and partnering with several different radio stations. To date, I think this is the most efficient and successful ICT4D example I have found.

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