Audio postcard: Digital journalists visit Tanzania to see farm radio in action

A visiting International Reporting Project journalist interviews a small-scale farmer in Valeska village in northern Tanzania, home to one of Farm Radio International’s listening groups.

Hello, I’m Adam Bemma, a volunteer at Farm Radio International’s Tanzania office in Arusha. Due to Farm Radio’s work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, we recently hosted 11 journalists with Johns Hopkins University’s International Reporting Project.  This team of journalism fellows, who work for various media houses in the US, UK and Brazil, visited Arusha’s Radio5 to watch a live broadcast of Farhari Yangu, a farmer-focused radio program co-produced by Farm Radio International. The International Reporting Project’s visit to Tanzania focused on food security, agriculture and issues affecting smallholder farmers — three essential components of Farm Radio International’s work in the East African country.

Here is what some of the journalists had to say about their trip:

Each of the journalists has […] a different theme. So some are more focused on global health, some are more focused on gender in agriculture.  They each have different interests.  So it’s good to have […] this very wide variety and, even amongst the site visits even here in this community, they’re each interviewing about different questions. Some are asking very specifically about the type of fertilizer used, or type of pesticides in their gardening. Some are asking a lot about water access and sanitation and there are some folks that are really interested in maternal and child health, breastfeeding and use of micronutrients, for instance, in their diet.

It sounds like that they’re […] being able to create some kind of rather impressive changes, which stands out because, having gone to other places, one of the things that seems to be a challenge is that kind of change in crop adoption and it appears that this might be an effective way to do it.

I’m mostly interested in its effect on public policy and it seems like that’s happening as far as getting people engaged with the consumer, the market. They were talking about organic kitchen farming, and so I liked how it was a very niche topic.

This is the only technology-based program that we’ve seen and it’s interesting seeing […]  how the farmers are learning these different techniques after a week of traveling around and seeing these keyhole gardens and different things that you are teaching […] on the ground.

About the author
Adam Bemma is a Canadian journalist based in Arusha, Tanzania. He is currently volunteering his time for the Farm Radio International office there.

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