Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Opportunities for radio based Agricultural interventions

Agricultural radio programmes in Kenya were predominantly ad hoc in their choice of topics, lacking in practical detail and dominated by the adverts of their sponsors.

More farmer-friendly content emerged in 2006 when a partnership between donor organisations (DFID) and Fit Resources, a non-profit company offering business development services, saw the launch of Mali Shambani, or "Wealth in the Farm".

Farming advice on the radio can help regions with no extension infrastructre.

Surveys indicate this is now one of the most populat radio programmes in Kenya, with 80 per cent of listeners claiming they learned something new from it, and 50 per cent saying that they have put something from the programme into practice.

Aired for one hour each Monday on KBC, the programme targets farmers and others in the agriculture sector, providing information on farming techniques, inputs, quality standards, weather and seasonal issues, market prices and trends, business tips, landuse, and financing opportunities. Each edition also features a question-and-answer section, where listeners call or send text messages and can interact live with an expert panel. A single programme attracts as many as 200 SMS messages from Kenyans and from listeners as far afield as Uganda and Tanzania.

New Agriculturalist Found in translation: farm radio goes local