It’s a sunny Saturday morning. Mr. Komi Gnonouglo welcomes us to Vogan, an agricultural town in the maritime region in south-east Togo. Mr. Gnonouglo is host of a program called La voix du paysan or “Voice of rural people,” which is broadcast on Radio Citadelle Vogan.
Mr. Gnonouglo is a broadcaster in constant search of new ideas and adapted strategies to better serve the farmers of his locality, providing them with quality agricultural information.
Listeners speak highly of Mr. Gnonouglo’s farmer program. One says that the information on the show motivated him to produce maize, cassava, and okra.
The listener explains, “Although it hasn’t rained much this year, I remain optimistic. Mr. Gnonouglo cares about us farmers, otherwise he wouldn’t bring us this useful information on the radio. I thank him for that.”
Mr. Gnonouglo says he was motivated to run a farmer program because agriculture runs in his family. He says, “My father is a farmer. I know the realities of the field.”
Radio Citadelle Vogan as a whole is committed to farmers, especially women. Written on the front of the station is a sign that says, “Radio Citadelle Vogan, an echo of the rural people on a daily basis.”
Broadcast every Thursday from 3:00 p.m. to 3:55 p.m. and rebroadcast every Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 9:55 a.m., Mr. Gnonouglo’s interactive program “Voice of rural people” has existed since the creation of the radio station in 2000. Nonetheless, the program is facing many challenges.
The question of finding resource people and experts to speak on air is a real issue for the program.
Mr. Gnonouglo says, “It is very difficult to have experts. I call some people to invite them to the studio. Some are unavailable. Others talk about travel costs.”
Nonetheless, Mr. Gnonouglo can count on a local Institute for advice and technical support (ICAT), which is a service of the Togolese Ministry of Agriculture, as well as NGOs, agricultural groups and the local professional associations. These individuals can often feature as guests on the air, or otherwise help to decide on the themes of upcoming episodes.
Another issue is limited financial means; the “Voice of rural people” program is funded by the radio station itself. Sometimes, through government programs, Mr. Gnonouglo can access funding to explore specific themes. Other times it is possible to benefit from advertising requests by agricultural companies.
Radio Citadelle Vogan joined the Farm Radio International radio network in May 2021. For Mr. Gnonouglo, FRI’s radio resources are a wealth of information which prove very useful in preparing his show. Mr. Gnonouglo is also a very active member of the FRI WhatsApp group for broadcasting partners in Togo, and likes to share his point of view, as well as ask questions during discussions. Beyond broadcasting, Mr. Gnonouglo grows cashews.
As a broadcaster, Mr. Gnonouglo hopes to take advantage of the many training opportunities available through FRI, as well as exchange good practices with his fellow broadcasters in West Africa and beyond.
Mr. Gnonouglo says, “Without agriculture, we cannot live in this world. I encourage the other FRI partner radio stations to increase their efforts, so that people understand the value that broadcasters bring to those who make a living from the agricultural sector.”
Photo: Adasa John listen to a radio near her field in Rudewa Mbuyuni location near Morogoro, Tanzania on May 27, 2014.