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Sharing Knowledge, Giving Voice

Down to business: Model farmer learns new techniques thanks to radio

Model farmer holds radio

Dagnie Teshomie has been growing malt barley for several years. He’s been quite successful at growing the crop, hiring machinery to plough, and lives well off of the income he produces.

Dagnie is one of the model farmers in the Lemmu Dima kebele, or ward, close to Bejoki in the Oromia region of Ethiopia. Others in his community, as well as his wife and six children, look up to the 68-year-old farmer for his success and experiences in malt barley production.

Still, there is always room for improvement.

“I thought I was well managing my income and expenses till I heard on the radio how one farmer is recording his income and expenses on a Farm Radio program,” Dagnie says.

Farm Radio International supported programs have been broadcasting better malt barley practices on two different radio stations in the Amhara and Oromia regions.

“The radio program was eye-opening and I have started recording as much as I can.”

Before the radio programs were designed, formative research was carried out in the target woredas to identify the topics farmers needed information on. Farmers identified knowledge gaps on business skills, such as developing a business plan and keeping records of financial transactions. Later, the Farm Radio programs, done in partnership with IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, Heineken-Ethiopia and EUCORD, broadcast information to enhance malt barley-producing farmers’ knowledge and practices on planning and record keeping. The radio programs aimed to teach best practices by sharing the experiences of model farmers, and expert advice.

This is what caught Dagnie’s attention.

“I was regularly listening to the malt barley focused program on the Oromo Broadcast Network. I have learned to enhance my planning and record keeping,” he says, smiling.

“I was not giving emphasis to keep records my financial transaction and did not understand how it would help me to further expand my business. I learned from the radio program that the keeping of records would help me to clearly see my profit, where I spent most of my money, how much malt barley production cost me, how much I get, and how much each agronomic practice cost me. I was not aware there was so much going on in malt barley production in terms of cash. I was doing all this without proper recording. The radio program was eye-opening and I have started recording as much as I can”.

While record keeping of income and expenses is only one key element that affects a small-scale farmers’ decision on what and how to farm, Dagnie’s success story indicates how the topic is relevant to farmers — and how the radio programs have helped to enhance farmers’ knowledge and skills when it comes to business planning and record keeping.


This program was undertaken with the support of IFC, a member of the World Bank Group and Heineken as part of the Heineken Ethiopia Strengthening the Heineken Malt Barley Supply Chain Development project.