Improved Market Information Services programs increase farmers’ income and knowledge, parts one and two

| September 14, 2015

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This week’s story from Malawi shows how radio programs can help farmers learn how to better market their crops. Our Script of the week travels several more steps down the same road!

Farmers work hard to produce a good crop. After all their work, buyers sometimes come to their farms, or meet them at the market, and pay farmers far less than they need to survive.

What can farmers do about this situation? How can they find out which crops will give them the best price? One response to that question is: listen to Marketing Information Services (MIS) programs on a local radio station.

MIS programs tell farmers current market prices, so that they can start the bargaining process equipped with up-to-date knowledge of prices and market conditions. Thus equipped, farmers may decide to take their produce to the local market. Or they may go to a nearby market that offers better prices. But these options are only possible if the local radio station offers an MIS program. Unfortunately, that’s a big “if.”

From 2007 to 2010, Farm Radio International conducted a project called the African Farm Radio Research Initiative, or AFRRI for short. In one part of the project, FRI worked with five radio stations in four countries to broadcast enhanced MIS programs.

This script talks about the creative and effective MIS programs that were broadcast as part of AFRRI. These programs went far beyond simply reading out market prices on the air. They educated farmers on how to plan for the coming year, they alerted farmers to price trends for different crops, and they told farmers which commodities were “hot” and which were not. On some programs, farmers could phone in and talk on-air to broadcasters, and ask questions of extension workers. On other programs, broadcasters helped connect buyers and sellers.

Part one of this two-part series talks about MIS programs in Mali and Ghana. Part two talks about programs in Uganda and Tanzania and makes some observations about the best ways to broadcast MIS programs.

Part one is at:

Part two is at: