Friday, February 8, 2013

three projects on the basis of radio, mobile technology and social networks give an idea of ??what works best for farmers

For small farmers in developing countries, information on climate, markets and agricultural techniques is essential to improve productivity. But what is the best way to provide this information? Here, three projects based on the radio, mobile technology and social networks give an idea of ??what might work.


radio was used to provide agricultural extension services for small farmers in Africa for decades. Until recently, however, there was no substantial evidence of the real impact of radio in improved agricultural practices, and how to maximize.


Farm Radio Research Initiative (AFRRI) has started looking into this since 2007 in a research project of 42 months, implemented by Farm Radio International (FRI), in collaboration with the World University Service of Canada (SUM), and with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

AFRRI specifically investigated the efficacy of a new type of radio campaign developed by FRI: participatory radio campaign (CPP), where farmers have been actively involved in issues of selection and development from varieties disease-resistant cassava for methods of animal enclosures, compost, manure and intercropping.

The project worked with 25 radio stations in five countries in the research, design, distribution, monitoring and evaluating CPP 49 to approximately 40 million small farmers. What they found was that farmers' participation in the creation of radio programs directly translates into greater adoption practices.

"From our research, we know that most rural voices are featured on a particular program, farmers are more likely to listen and learn," said Kevin Perkins, Director General Rural Radio Internacional.

"This is even more true when the radio programs are designed with input farmers, and when broadcasters seek the views of farmers and use it to improve their programs."

data collected by the project showed that in "active listening communities" in the radio room, including farmers who participated in the program, an average of 39% of farmers have adopted practices discussed on the radio.

While the radio itself may not be technologically new AFRRI research suggests that the impact depends on how it is used. Participatory radio campaigns showed that the most modern technologies, such as mobile phones, can be used with the radio to make it more effective.

farmers can make phone calls and interviews can be conducted on the ground. Perkins calls it "Radio 2.0".

Another important finding is that even in "passive listening communities" where farmers do not participate directly in the development of programs, 21% went to adopt practices also discussed.

This may be less than 39% in communities active listening, but radio is relatively easy to move to a wide audience of thousands - even millions - of farmers could be encouraged to adopt of agricultural practices. All they need is to hear more people like them in the waves.

mobile technology

mobile technology is increasingly seen as having huge potential in agricultural development, information services based on SMS Nokia Life Tools and Reuters Market Light now available to millions of farmers .

These services have gained high visibility, but a recent study found little evidence of actual impact on prices received by farmers, or the possibility of changing crop varieties and farming practices. So how mobile technology can be used to make a tangible difference to farmers? Grameen Foundation in Uganda found a way, through the training of representatives of rural communities to act as intermediaries in the mobile technology community knowledge workers (CKW) project. knowledge workers in the community are farmers themselves, they are integrated in the farming community. Armed with smartphones that offer a specially crafted application, talk with other farmers to provide agricultural advice, weather forecasts, prices, input supplier directory and a platform market that connects buyers and sellers. They also collect data from them to create a feedback loop.

The study identified a direct impact on knowledge of the market and prices. Farmers served by CKWS had a greater propensity to data from market prices in the production and marketing decisions, and therefore their corn sold for an average of more than 22% of farmers who are not served by CKWS. Farmers' knowledge on issues such as crop management, pests and diseases and livestock also increased by 17% compared to before the intervention CKW.

CKW model seems to work, because it is more than just a distribution channel for mobile data. Access to information is one thing, action is another. CKWS encourage such action.
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