Audio postcard: Reaching farmers in local languages

Program quality monitors make calls to farmers, speaking five of the languages of northern Ghana.


The Farm Radio International office in Tamale, Northern Ghana, booms like a busy call center every weekday.  Calls are made to listeners of Farm Radio programs to collect their profile information in order to share relevant farming tips with farmers through phone messaging. Radio program quality monitors also make calls. Theirs are to the 90 community listening groups to remind them about upcoming programs or to get feedback on those that have already been broadcast.

With every call, the sounds of northern Ghana’s many languages echo throughout the room. The FRI team in Tamale implements and supports the Agriculture Technology Transfer (ATT) project in Ghana in five of the country’s regional languages: Dagbani, Gurune, Kasem, Sissali, and Dagaare.

George Morton

George Morton, programs coordinator for FRI Tamale.

“We want to communicate in the languages that are best understood by these smallholder farmers,” says George Morton, the programs coordinator in the Tamale office. “And we want to reach as many farmers as we can.”

But executing one project in different languages is not without its challenges.

FRI’s role in the ATT project is to help small-scale farmers learn new techniques and technologies for better crops by working with radio stations to broadcast interactive radio programs. The team works with program monitors, people who understand the local languages, to record market prices, weather information, and relevant farming tips.


Joseph Peprah

Joseph Peprah is the radio and ICT officer for the Tamale office.

Joseph Peprah was responsible for editing audio recordings done in languages he did not understand. When this got too difficult, he trained the program monitors to edit the recordings. He says that he now only does “the final polishing to make it [the recording] sound better.” Program monitors are key to working in multiple local languages.

The team has profiled more than 5,000 farmers since January. They are on a mission to get that number to 10,000 by the end of June.

Feed the Future‘s Ghana Agriculture Technology Transfer project is introducing new technologies to improve the seed sector in Northern Ghana. The project is also exploring ways to identify sustainable solutions that will increase competitiveness in the rice, soybean, and maize value chains.

Halima bio
About the author  
Halima Olajumoke Sogbesan is a Master of Journalism candidate at Carleton University. This summer, she’s working as an intern with Farm Radio International in Tamale, Ghana. Halima intends to work as a multimedia journalist in the future in order to raise awareness about the rights violations that poor and vulnerable groups endure in her home country of Nigeria.

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