Spotlight on Andrew Agaba, Station Manager, Voice of Kigezi

| December 7, 2015

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Andrew Agaba started working at Voice of Kigezi in 2000, following his passion for journalism and radio. He started as a presenter, and worked his way up to station manager. The station broadcasts from Kabale, 400 kilometres southwest of Uganda’s capital city, Kampala.

His job at Voice of Kigezi, known locally as VOK, involves programming, marketing, public relations, and generating income for the station. Mr. Agaba says, “The most challenging part of the job is the programming—trends change and you need to stay relevant to the audience without straying out of the mission and mandate of the station.”

Voice of Kigezi

Station staff received training from Farm Radio International after an assessment revealed that VOK was “not reaching farmers the way they would have liked to.” Presenters and producers were not giving farmers enough time on air, and programs were being broadcast in time slots which were inconvenient for listeners. The training also introduced the station to the idea of generating revenue from—and for— their farmer radio show.

Following discussions with farmers and the wider business community, the station realized it needed a separate, dedicated farmer program. Staff created a one-hour farmer show called Bomugeiga, which means “Get rich” in the Rukiga language.

VOK staff learned other lessons from the FRI training: how to better package their program, how best to include farmers’ voices, how to choose appropriate and seasonal topics, and how to encourage farmers to add value to their products. Mr. Agaba says, “The program has changed a lot since the training.”

Bomugeiga has been on air for three months, and sponsors have already signed up to fund the program: a local bank, a local savings and credit co-operative, and agro-input dealers.

Mr. Agaba says the program is getting positive feedback. Farmers like the expert advice, such as how to deal with pests and diseases. They also appreciate finding out where they can source genuine inputs, as purchased fertilizers and seeds are often fake.

Mr. Agaba likes using the stories, events, and resources in Barza Wire. He says, “It opens our minds to experiences from elsewhere [in Africa], and I get ideas for the program.”

Some time ago, Mr. Agaba entered a competition to win a freelancing contract with the BBC World Service. Inspired by a story he’d read in Barza Wire, he wrote an article about women in Kanungu, western Uganda, who grow upland rice together and earn a good income. His article won from a field of 600 entries.

His message for Barza Wire readers is this: “Farming is a serious business. Anyone can farm; even if you have a regular job outside of farming, you can still farm and make money. I grow Irish potatoes.”

You can read more about Andrew Agaba and the Voice of Kigezi at this link: