Nelly Bassily | June 1, 2009
The following is an excerpt from an interview Farm Radio’s Nelly Basilly conducted with Joshua Kyalimpa, who works with Opsett Media/Africa Farm Radio Bureau, a partner of Farm Radio International.
Farm Radio: Tell us about Opsett Media/Africa Farm Radio Bureau.
Joshua: “Opsett Media is short for Opinion Setters. We started as a group of journalists and we are looking at the role that we can play in the development of our country. What we realized is that the media in Uganda is driven so much with event journalism. So, we are asking, how can we make a difference to spearhead the development and growth of our country? What we do is develop content and programs that are geared towards development, and use the media to achieve that. We don’t have a radio station of our own. We use radio stations that exist.
Radio is one of the most effective media for Africa because not many people can read and write. Right now, we have partnered with different radio stations. For example, one of the radio stations is called Vision Voice Radio. We developed a program with Vision Voice called Harvesting Money. It is a magazine program geared at improving farming techniques. We have interviews, we have features, and, for example, we have a segment called Farmer of the Week, where we showcase a farmer who can inspire other farmers. We are not targeting very big farmers; we are targeting the smallholder farmer.”
Farm Radio: In that segment, Farmer of the Week, can you give us an example of a farmer that had an interesting story to tell?
Joshua: “We did a story with a farming group in Uganda that pooled together labour resources because by themselves they didn’t have the resources. They started small and they started growing tomatoes. One of the women in the group provided land and the others provided labour so they could start growing tomatoes. They have been able to increase the yields from their gardens and export their tomatoes to southern Sudan.
We often hear from farmers that they don’t have the capital. So, in this story, what is interesting is that the farmers had land and labour, which they provided themselves. The cost of buying the seeds was not that high, and right now they are doing very well.”
Farm Radio: At Opsett Media/Africa Farm Radio Bureau, what are some of the projects you are working on or hope to work on in the near future?
Joshua: “We have been working on a project that I hope will improve farming in our country. What we want to do is centrally produce information. We realize that we cannot keep running from one station to another. We want to produce a syndicated program about farming that can be fed to radio stations. We are looking for partners so we can have a small studio, we can have computers, and we can have access to the Internet. We want to produce a weekly magazine program which can be downloaded. We have different ideas for methods of distribution. In one of the proposals, we are saying that you can distribute the program through the phone line, so people can phone up and get the information. That program would be produced in the local language so we can target the farmers who cannot speak English.”
The programs that Opsett Media/Africa Farm Radio Bureau currently produces are in English and Luganda, which is spoken in the central region of Uganda.