Case Study on the role of radio based extension and advisory services: Lessons learnt of farm radio programming in Malawi

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Published on February 27, 2014

Author: MEAS1


Case Study on the role of radio based extension and advisory services: Lessons learnt of farm radio programming in Malawi‟ Chapota. R, Mthinda, C & Fatch, P. June 2013

Presentation Outline • Introduction of the case study • Use of radio in agricultural extension and advisory services • Experiences of farm radio programming • Major actors in farm radio programming • Key Lessons Learnt • Conclusion

Case study commissioned by Modernizing Extension and Advisory Services (MEAS) Project-Michigan State University with support from USAID 3

• Rationale: •Unavailability of published work in the area of ICT for extension especially role of radio in extension delivery in view of the vibrant farm radio industry in Malawi. •Key Research Question: •What lessons have been learnt in the provision of radio based extension and advisory services focussing on the role Farm Radio Trust has played since inception in 2007. 4

Benefits of the case study a) Contribute to the body of knowledge on how radio for extension is one of the information pathways to reach smallholder farmers. b) Help in designing new innovative radio programming approaches in delivery of extension and advisory services that can impact smallholder farmers. 5

• 6

History of use of radio in extension • Since 1958, the then agricultural communications branch used mass media e.g. radio • Deregulation of the airwaves in 1994 changed the broadcasting landscape • The extension policy of 2000 brought pluralism in extension provision 7


Rationale for Use of Radio in Extension and Advisory Services • Increased accessibility: 64.1%-70% ownership at household level-NSO, 2008; FRI 2010 • Easy to reach even illiterate people • Adaptable to various local languages and dialects esp community radios • Provides platform and voices for end users e.g. farmers • High extension to farmer ratio provides alternative pathway to access of information • Greater reach and scale per unit time 9

Case Study History • Based on three key projects participated by Farm Radio Trust: – African Farm Radio Research Initiative: 20072010 • Action Research Project – The Farmer Voice Radio: 2009-2012 • Development of alternative extension system – African Farm Radio Results Initiative: 2011-2013 • Implementation of Participatory Radio Campaigns 10

KEY ACTORS • Small holder farmers – ‘Even though I had some information about manure use, my practice was inappropriate. But the radio program engaged us farmers as if this was ‘school on air’ from which I learned how to make and use manure properly’ • Radio Stations and broadcasters – ‘we have discovered that the farmer is the best researcher and producer of radio programs and that what we need to do as broadcasters is to collaborate with them and never go with the I know it attitude’ 11

“The Participatory Radio Campaign that brings systematic way for producing programs that puts a farmer at the centre has changed the way of thinking and producing programs at our radio station” Ganizani Njanje Nkhotakota Community Radio Station 12

KEY ACTORS…. • Government agricultural extension system – ‘the radio programs have triggered a lot of demand from farmers and I have started to read more than before to cope up with the issues that are on air’ • Knowledge partners such as research institutes and academia – ‘as much as we teach agricultural extension and mention mass media as one of the approaches; this is the first time we have been fully involved to provide technical backstopping to radio programs’ 13

KEY ACTORS…. • Other agricultural value chain stakeholders such as NGOs – ‘This is the 1st time in a number of years that we have received farmers request for vetiver grass like this. The radio programs have had tremendous impact in this area; in the past we had to encourage them to do the nurseries and now it is them demanding it from us’ 14

KEY ACTORS • Farm Radio Trust as a Key Knowledge Broker – ‘There was no player that could bring the farmer, the researcher, an extension worker, the policy maker and the broadcaster on the same table to design radio programming as is being done in this so called Participatory Radio Campaign approach’ 15

What we have learned in the implementation of radio based extension and advisory services? 16

Lesson #1: That radio based extension and advisory services has the potential to increases farmers knowledge and improvement in the agronomic practices 17



Lesson # 2: That Radio is more effective if its programs are developed with and for the farmers: farmers first, farmers throughout and farmers last! 20



esson # 3: That Radio can trigger demand for better face to face extension and provision of other agricultural support services 23

Lesson # 4: That Participatory Radio Campaigns are a good example of demand driven extension in practice- The case of choice of innovations and programming 24 style


Lesson 5: That use of other ICTs such as Mobile Phones enhances effectiveness of radio programs for farmers-Interactivity and near to real time feedback 26

Lesson # 6: That radio can contribute to increased gender awareness and empowerment 27


Women farmers having an opportunity to access agricultural info! 29

• Farm Radio Programming Is an „Alternative‟ and „Complimentary‟ Information Pathway for Improved Extension Service Delivery 30

Indeed…. where knowledge flows, food 31

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