Why radio is important to farmers — and FRI staff

Japhet Emmanuel grew up on a farm in Tanzania, with a love of radio passed down from his father. This makes him the perfect fit for country program manager at our Tanzania office. Japhet is in Canada for a few weeks and shared his work with donors and supporters at an event Oct. 29 at our Ottawa office.

His talk discussed some of the latest initiatives out of Tanzania, including the innovative work at The Hangar and Agripoll, a nation-wide poll conducted in Tanzania earlier this year.

But he also shared his perspective on why radio is important to farmers.

“Radio does a lot of work. It reaches men and women and children too,” Japhet said. “It was radio that brought me into life.”

Japhet grew up in a farming family, helping his father with the planting, weeding and harvesting.
He also grew up with a love of radio passed down from his father, who told him to listen to BBC World Service to understand what is going on in the world. Since Tanzania was served at the time by just one radio station – Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation – their family had a shortwave radio just to listen to BBC.

“Since then, it changed my thinking, my knowledge,” said Japhet. “I still listen to the radio a lot.”

But radio has change significantly since Japhet was a young boy. With more than 500 million cellphones in sub-Saharan Africa, radio can now be a two-way communication tool. Farmers can “beep” (leave a missed call) and an interactive voice response system will call back to provide weather information or ask the farmer to vote in a poll.

Farmers can also call into the radio station to ask questions that the hosts will incorporate into their farm radio program.

“This is something new Farm Radio is bringing into the radio world,” said Japhet.

Japhet will be speaking in Winnipeg and Toronto, where donors and supporters can learn more about Her Farm Radio and other innovations and initiatives being developed and put into practice in Tanzania.
Listen to Japhet’s talk — Radio Innovations that Serve Farmers — in Winnipeg Nov. 4 from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. at Farm Business Communications, 1666 Dublin Avenue, Winnipeg.

Japhet will also be speaking in Toronto Nov. 13 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at Hill+Knowlton Strategies, 160 Bloor Street East, Suite 800, Toronto.

To RSVP for either event, email Brenda Jackson at brenda@farmradio.org.

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