Notes to broadcasters: Agricultural extension via the radio

    | June 24, 2013

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    “Agricultural extension” is a general term that refers to the process of educating farmers to adopt farming practices shown by agricultural research to be beneficial. But the field of extension now encompasses a wider range of communication and learning activities offered by educators from different disciplines, including agriculture, agricultural marketing, health, and business studies.

    An extension system can be described both in terms of how communication takes place and why it takes place. But there is no magic formula for success. Systems designed without the input of farmers are not always effective in getting the most important information to those who would benefit from it. And participatory projects do not always meet their educational goals. For more information, visit the Wikipedia website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agricultural_extension

    For more information about Zimbabwe, go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zimbabwe

    The article on which this story was based can be found here: http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/06/zimbabwean-farmers-adrift-amid-power-struggles/

    Farm Radio International provides a form of agricultural extension. By providing information to radio broadcasters, and training them how best to produce and broadcast it in a way which is accessible to the audience, FRI helps broadcasters and extension agents reach a much larger audience than is possible for a field-based extension service or in a traditional meeting room. One report on FRI’s work is available here: http://blogs.worldwatch.org/nourishingtheplanet/farm-radio-international/

    FAO has produced a handbook with an overview of the extension service system. “Improving agricultural extension. A reference manual” can be accessed through this link: http://www.fao.org/docrep/w5830e/w5830e00.HTM

    A history of the agricultural extension system in Zimbabwe (also written by FAO) can be found through this address: http://www.fao.org/docrep/005/ac913e/ac913e05.htm

    Farm Radio Resource Pack 94 (Participatory Radio Campaigns and agricultural co-operatives) contains several radio scripts which deal with participatory radio and market information services. It is available for download via this web address: http://www.farmradio.org/radio-resource-packs/package-94-african-farm-radio-research-initiative-afrri/

    Farm Radio Resource Pack 95 (Researching and producing farmer-focused programs) will also be of use to stations which wish to deliver better programs. The items in the Pack are not, like typical Farm Radio International scripts, designed to be adapted for local broadcast, or to act as models for farm radio broadcasts. Rather, they are guidance documents directed at farm broadcasters. Find the package here: http://www.farmradio.org/radio-resource-packs/package-95-researching-and-producing-farmer-focused-programs/

    An FRI toolkit is available here: http://ictforag.org/radio/. The toolkit was designed to help USAID projects, and projects implemented by other organizations, use interactive radio to augment the traditional agricultural extension services they provide. In addition, the toolkit aims to provide a basic understanding of what is needed to create compelling radio programming.