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Sharing Knowledge, Giving Voice

Farm Radio International develops new sustainable radio approach

World Radio Day

At Farm Radio International, we’ve seen what works when it comes to radio projects. From projects on sweet potato, to those on climate change and women’s rights, we see great results come from informative radio programming time and time again.

There’s just one problem. When a project ends, the radio program may end with it, and broadcasters go back to their regularly scheduled programming.

In recent months, Farm Radio has been piloting our solution to this problem.

Farmers across the Brong Ahafo and Ashanti regions of Ghana have been tuning into a new Farm Radio program all about maize. The shows discuss everything from post-harvest management to enhanced value chains and market linkages.

But this program is unlike anything listeners have heard before. Using a new radio format called Green Leaf, developed by Farm Radio, these programs promise to last long after project funding runs out.

Green Leaf sets a model for sustainable radio programming that is highly engaging, informative and popular among farmers.

Unlike past Farm Radio programs, Green Leaf is comprised of seven original segments that are tailored to meet women and men’s farmers specific needs.

Farm Radio’s Radio Craft team worked with the team of broadcasters in Ghana piloting the project to come up with a series of segments that they could use for their individual Green Leaf shows.

The segments needed to be interesting and informative, but they also needed to be something that farmers would tune into week-after-week and year-after-year.

“We wanted to include a variety of different topics or components that will not only capture the interest of farmers but give the farming listening audience as a whole something that is valuable to them,” says Sylvie Harrison, the Radio Craft Team Lead for Farm Radio. She worked with broadcasters from across Ghana on the design of the project.

“The goal is to provide a radio program that offers farmers information, linkages and concrete things that they can use in their real life.”

The result: segments that include everything from local news and events, to weather and market information and details about new farming practices and new technologies. And, of course, all of them must incorporate some level of entertainment and interactivity.

News

The first segment is local and international news to bring farmers up to date on happenings in their communities and on new agricultural innovations happening across the continent.

Many international news stories are sourced from Barza Wire, Farm Radio’s news wire service that publishes stories relevant to small-scale African farmers.

Let’s get farming

Next is “Let’s Get Farming.” It’s a segment designed to teach farmers about fundamentals and best practices on their fields. It’s a fun segment, one that can incorporate tape talks, mini docks or even a drama skit.

Have your say

Key to the Green Leaf approach is a way for community members to express their own opinions and hear themselves represented on the radio. That’s where the “Have Your Say” segment comes in. Listeners can share their experiences, opinions and questions using Farm Radio’s unique ICT platform called Uliza.

Your weather, your markets

“Your Weather, Your Markets” is a segment that helps farmers make optimal decisions based on predicted weather and market opportunities. Sharing information about what weather is expected that week, or what prices they can expect to get for their maize can prove invaluable for small-scale farmers.

The partners’ corner

In order to make a Green Leaf program sustainable, it must generate revenue. That’s where the “Partners’ Corner” segment comes in. While partners can also contribute to other segments, thes Partners’ Corner is a place for sponsors to advertise their products and services which are of value to small-scale farmers.

Digging deep

Next up: “Digging Deep.” This segment actively encourages listeners to consider and then take up new farming practices. Using Farm Radio’s tested methods, this segment can be altered so the information fits the season, and needs of listening farmers.

In the case of the Enhanced Nutrition and Value Chain program running now in Ghana, the Digging Deep segment educates farmers about things like new storage practices or new methods for drying their harvested maize.

Bulletin board

The final segment is the “Bulletin Board” — again a chance for listeners to have their say about their community. which shares information about upcoming events and activities in the community as well as requests or announcements from individuals.

Green Leaf

The Green Leaf format sets the standard for engaging, informative, interactive radio programming that can sustainably serve farming communities across Africa for years to come.

Right now, six radio stations across the Brong Ahafo and Ashanti regions of Ghana are implementing this new farmer program. They include Royals FM in Wenchi, Adars FM in Kintampo, Asta FM in Techiman, Akyeaa FM in Nkoranza, GBC Radio in Mampong and Today’s Radio in Ejura.

But this is just the beginning of Farm Radio’s latest innovation. Stay tuned!

 

Maxine Betteridge-Moes
About the author  
Maxine Betteridge-Moes is volunteering with Farm Radio International in Tamale, Ghana through the Uniterra program. She has a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Carleton University. In addition to her work with Farm Radio, Maxine is a freelance writer and podcast producer. She has experience living, working and studying in Europe, Asia and Africa.

 

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