Audio postcard: Podcasting in Africa

Meet Nana Darko.

Normally, he’s a researcher with Rite FM, one of the radio stations Farm Radio works with in the eastern region of Ghana.

But in this photo he’s working as a social reporter for the Africa Agriculture Science Week conference. On top of blogging and tweeting, his job was to manage the podcast.

On his screen you can see the audio from interviews he’s editing — some from fellow social reporters and others he conducted himself. After cutting the audio he uploads the finished product in podcast form to Podomatic.

In the background, you can see the rest of his team packing up after an intensive six days of coverage and two full days of training.

While their work is over, Nana said his is just beginning.

He wants to take what he’s learned about podcasts and agricultural innovations at the conference and share it with Rite FM’s community of farmers.

“We can use [podcasts] to support our farmers, our smallholder farmers who need our help,” Nana said.

He is starting by uploading some of the podcasts and full interviews to the station’s Freedom Fone with a translated voice over.

“Even if they’re in English they can understand them in their local language and understand some of the innovations that have been exhibited here,” he said.

Nana said he is particularly interested in promoting the new Push-Pull technology. He wrote a blog about the intercropping method used to protect cereals from pests. It included an interview with an ICIPE interviewer about how they used an attractive “pull” crop on the outside of the field. This draws the pests while “push”-ing them away from the food crop inside.

The Push-Pull strategy has been adopted by 40,000 smallholder farmers in East Africa, according to ICIPE. Nana is looking forward to introducing the method to Ghanaian farmers now.


Link to Push-Pull:

Freedom Fone is just one of the innovations that Farm Radio is introducing to radio partners in Africa. For those of us in the West, we are all actually already very familiar with the technology without even knowing it. When you call a customer service line and you get an automated menu with several choices, this is similar to Freedom Fone or “Interactive Voice Response”. But in this case, RiteFM or other radio broadcasters can use the technology to post audio content on-demand like a short summary of a radio show or bonus content for a radio show. Or they could allow farmers to call and hear the latest market prices, or even leave a message for the station. In a way, by using this type of complementary technology to radio, podcasting is starting to reach rural populations in Africa that don’t even have internet access.

This is Juanita Bawagan at Farm Radio International in Ghana, signing off.

About the author
Juanita Bawagan is a Farm Radio intern based in Accra, Ghana. She is a recent graduate of the Journalism program at Carleton University and is taking part in the Centre for Media and Transitional Societies (CMTS) internship program. Farm Radio is hosting five interns from this program in 2013.

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