Christian Ofori Kuma: Inspiring big changes for farmers
Christian Ofori Kuma knew little of agriculture before he was chosen as a senior program producer on Akyeaa FM’s program Akuafo Mo (Thank you farmers) just a few years ago, but his work as a farm radio broadcaster has already had a huge impact on the small-scale farmers in Ejura-Sekyedumase, central Ghana.
Akyeaa FM was one of two broadcasting partners on the “Linking farmers to markets in Ghana” project, funded by the World Food Programme. This project was successful in providing small-scale farmers with both production and marketing information relating to high quality staple foods.
Christian, known on air as KooFori, has a diploma in journalism and has been working in radio since 2008, but his agricultural knowledge was gained through FRI workshops and in-station training, as well as field visits. Once he understood the challenges and experiences of the farming community, his journalism skills led KooFori to uncover a local marketing problem: the lack of a standardized method for measuring grains and cereals, purchased from farmers by middlemen to sell in the markets.
Obuoba FM and Akyeaa FM, the two partner radio stations on the “Linking farmers to markets” project, brought this marketing problem to the airwaves, airing the opinions and experiences of farmers, sellers and local politicians. Thy were successful in motivating a change in local policy. A by-law has now been passed in seven districts and municipalities requiring a standardized 80-90 kg bag — rather than a 150 kg bag — be used to sell produce.
KooFori’s work continues as he seeks to address another challenge among the Ghanaian farming community: keeping youth interested in agriculture.
He has been successful at engaging youth on his radio show, showing them farming can be a successful business. More youth have become involved in maize production, which had previously been declining in the region.
“It is heart-warming and a deeply privileged feeling when I travel in Nkoranza and its neighbouring communities and I see farmers implementing practices that were discussed on the show. It inspires me to work even harder because people are dependent on the information I deliver,” KooFori said.
KooFori was nominated for the 2015 George Atkins Communications Award. The award is presented each year to an individual that demonstrates overall programming excellence in responding to small-scale farmers’ needs as well as commitment to Farm Radio International.