This publication showcases a few case studies where innovative use of emerging technologies together with capacity development has brought about rich dividends. Digital Green’s experiences in knowledge sharing among rural communities to Nano Ganesh’s innovative use of technology in switching on irrigation pumps have the potential to contribute significantly to the livelihoods of farming communities.
This book chapter describes how to utilise the learning principles derived from cognitive psychology for designing multimedia training modules
Participatory Radio Campaigns (PRCs) were developed by Farm Radio International as a way to help farmers learn about, evaluate, and introduce new agricultural practices that they are interested in trying. With training and facilitation support from Farm Radio International, selected radio stations work closely with farmers and farmer organizations, agricultural extension and advisory services, researchers and others to carefully plan and deliver a four-six month radio campaign. During the PRC, farmers are able to explore, exchange knowledge, gain information and share experiences with a new agricultural practice that can improve their family’s food security. Lively and entertaining, PRCs feature the voices, stories and perspectives of ordinary farmers through a mix of radio formats, including panel discussions, vox pops, village debates, phone-in shows, mini-dramas and music. Farmers provide feedback and are involved in monitoring and evaluating the PRCs throughout. New Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) such as cell phones, MP3 players, interactive voice response systems, and bulk SMS messaging systems are linked with radio to boost the interactivity, reach and accessibility of PRCs.
This sourcebook is meant to equip development and communication professionals with a useful set of guidelines, reference materials and learning resources to apply communication in rural development initiatives. The main goal is to enable readers to design and implement rural communication strategies combining participatory methods with communication processes, media and tools best suited for a specific situation.
Radio is a powerful communication tool. Experience with rural radio has shown the potential for agricultural extension to benefit from both the reach and the relevance that local broadcasting can achieve by using participatory communication approaches. The importance of sharing information locally and opening up wider information networks for farmers is explored with reference to the specific example of vernacular radio programmes based on research on soil and water conservation. This paper describes this specific experience in the context of rural radio as a tool for agricultural extension and rural development, with reference to the dramatically changing technology environment that is currently influencing information and communication processes worldwide. The implications for policy makers of harnessing rural radio to improve agricultural extension are also discussed.
African Farm Radio Research Initiative How ICTs are changing rural radio in Africa
Of the world’s 1 billion plus poor, seventy-five percent live in rural areas and most of these people depend on agriculture to survive. Enhancing farmers’ and agricultural workers’ livelihoods is therefore a key element in addressing global poverty. While farmers are faced by many problems, three are regularly cited as amongst the most important, namely: 1) access to credit, 2) access to better market prices, and 3) access to credible, relevant information.
In terms of information access, there has been increasing attention given to the potential of Information Communication Technology (ICT) to better connect farmers with the information they need. ICT has the capacity to dramatically expand communication between people and to improve access to information (and money). The question has been how can this promise of ICT be realistically harnessed to help the world’s rural agricultural poor?
Information Communication Technology (ICT) has tremendous power to strengthen our Agricultural Extension efforts. However, many ICT efforts are unsuccessful as they neglect elements that help build success. Use “AID” (Awareness, Interest, Doable) to evaluate your ICT program.
A MEAS factsheet
Though the farming community struggles hard to get the best out of crop production, price realization is in the hands of other market players’ viz., traders and commission agents. The farmers seldom get accurate information about local markets or the preferences of the end-consumers. This information asymmtricity will cultivate opportunistic behavior of traders resulting in meager profit margins and uncertain farm profitability on the producers’ side. Hence the market information should reach the farmers so as to make needed and quicker decisions so as to supply the commodities where they could get better prices. To bridge the information divide, new and advanced Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools such as Computers, Internet and Mobile phones have tremendous potential to facilitate information transfer to farming community. In this context, the present study documents the impact of mobile market advisory services among the users in Tamil Nadu.
This document has been prepared to inspire reflection about the role of communication in advancing family farming. It includes an analysis of examples of ComDev approaches applied to smallholder farming and rural development and the issues that they encompass: food security, natural resource management, rural livelihoods, agricultural innovation, and capacity development. One emerging concept is that of “rural communication services,” which seeks to enhance rural livelihoods by facilitating equitable access to knowledge and information – understood as public goods – along with social inclusion in decision-making and stronger links between rural institutions and local communities.6 An additional concept pertains to the need to develop national communication for development policies and strategies that focus on the information and communication needs of family farmers and rural communities. Such policies would help to mainstream and institutionalize ComDev pproaches at different levels and among all development partners, in particular among overnmental agriculture and telecommunication ministries and media regulators but also among armers’ organizations, rural institutions, community media and the private sector.
Agriculture continues to be the most important sector of the Indian economy and agriculture is a more or less a compulsion for livelihood of millions of farmers. Land and water resources have almost reached their limits, price of commodities are fluctuating almost every day, profits are negligible for most of the marginal and small farmers and most of all getting information is cumbersome. In present day agriculture, soft resources like knowledge and skills are as important as hard resources like inputs, and sometimes more important. But estimates indicate that 60 per cent of farmers do not access any source of information for advanced agricultural technologies resulting in huge adoption gap. The requirement of field level extension personnel is estimated to be about 1.3 -1.5 million against the present availability of about 0.1 million personnel. The mobile phone comes into the picture here. In today’s world, almost everybody owns a mobile phone. This huge reach, if harnessed in agricultural extension, can change the face of agriculture altogether in a developing country like India where we have nothing to lose by using it as a medium to disseminate agricultural information in multimodal form. Many initiatives have been taken in this regard to utilize mobile phones by private sector ( Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative Limited, Nokia, Airtel, Tata Consultancy Services, etc. ) and public sector (Ministry of Agriculture, Universities like Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, research institutions like Indian Council of Agricultural Research, State Governments of Haryana and Kerala, Indian Meteorological Department and others) in agricultural advisory service for agronomic practices, weather forecasts and market price . With increased dependency, the mobile phone is becoming a common communication platform of the world, especially for agriculture.
For decades now, radio has been a dominant source of information for farmers in much of sub-Saharan Africa. Although the reach of radio varies from country to country, it is estimated that between 80 and 90 percent of households in Africa have access to a functional radio. The liberalization of regulatory environments in a number of countries has further increased the number of independent and community radio stations broadcasting over the airwaves.1 Given the fact that adult literacy rates in sub-Saharan Africa are just over 60 percent and that electricity in many rural communities is non-existent, battery-powered radios are often the most affordable and practical way for rural farmers to access information.