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Farm Radio In Tanzania PDF Print E-mail

By Kevin Perkins - Farm Radio International

Farm Radio International (FRI) is an NGO with head quarters in Canada  operating in Tanzania and six other  countries in Sub Saharan Africa.   The intention is for radio broadcasters to meet the needs of local small-scale farmers and their families in rural communities, by translating useful farm information into an accessible format in local languages given that most of the people have access to radio either directly or when it is owned by a close person. The radio helps in raising knowledge and awareness levels.  Producers have added the radio  to some mobile phones  which enables farmers to listen to each others’ testimonies and practices. Because of these mobile phones,  talk shows are now interactive.

FRI partners with the Agriculture Research organisation (ARO), CGIAR and universities to carry out research on farm best practices.

FRI plays two  roles.

  1. Farming research findings are given out for free to all radio stations that would like to air them. These are distributed to 570 radio stations in 38 countries.
  2. Run projects together with radio stations that design radio programs in 7 countries.

In Ethiopia where FRI operates, research was done on a staple cereal which is grown in most parts of the country. It was discovered that it thrives best when planted in rows and is not over crowded. Eighty percent of the farmers have since adopted this way of cultivating.

Two way communication is now possible where questions are asked and the answers are given through mobile phones.  The questions are simple requiring a YES /NO answer but this feedback is very useful for future research and as an indication on the uptake of knowledge being disseminated.

The one challenge that FRI faces is that radio stations are not willing to air programs that do not directly result in increase of their profits.

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