Potatoes & rice

September 25, 2015

Improving harvests with participatory radio

Rice and potatoes are staple foods in many households in Africa, and with timely advice and a place for sharing knowledge, farmers can improve their harvests. There are many techniques that can lead to larger harvests — from good seed selection to soil health to post-harvest practices. Many of the best ideas come from other farmers in neighbouring districts or regions. Radio, particularly participatory radio, can share knowledge of these techniques, and help farmers achieve better results from their potato and rice farms.
This year in Mali, we worked with two radio stations to support several broadcasts on rice production and post-harvest management. Farmers learned about intercropping other crops on their rice field, as well as new techniques for cooking rice. As part of the project, we provided skills training to broadcasters at the two stations. Ousmane Dembele, a broadcaster with Radio Kafokan in Sikasso Region, said he has never received so much praise from his listeners as he did after applying the new broadcasting skills he gained. He received positive feedback from individual farmers, who had learned new techniques. And for the first time he heard from the president of the local chamber of agriculture, who wanted to work with the radio station on another project to benefit farmers.
This project was implemented in partnership with Africa Rice.
Learn more about this project.
This year we also partnered with two radio stations in SNNPR, Ethiopia, to discuss seed selection and storage techniques for potato farmers. Sidama Community Radio and Waka FM aired participatory radio series that provided potato farmers with information on the benefits of new seed selection and storage methods, while giving them the opportunity to share their questions and experiences. The broadcasts followed the potato growing season in 2014, providing technical advice and support in step with farmers’ work. A survey showed that farmers took this advice to heart, with nearly 50 per cent of farmers surveyed indicating that they used the new seed selection method in their planting.
This project was implemented in partnership with the International Potato Centre.
Learn more about this project.

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