We’ve ‘bean’ on a mission — to improve legumes!

Partners review a bean field

It’s no secret that when people work together, the results are better than those working alone.

In 2015, Farm Radio International, alongside several other organizations, set out to put that theory to the test as part of the Scaling-up Improved Legume Technologies, or SILT, project. A group of five development organizations, including Farm Radio, the IDRC, the African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership, the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI) and the Agricultural Seeds Agency came together to create a consortium to see what could happen when they partnered together to send the same information in different ways to get the maximum effect.

The results are in—it works!

The “Legume Alliance” as we called ourselves, banded together to create the Maharage Bingwa, or “champion beans,” campaign to promote information on how to improve bean growing practices through Tanzania.


An infographic showing the impact of and the variety of ways farmers were reached through the Scaling-up Improved Legume Technologies project in Tanzania.

Radio campaigns, comic books, personal workshops, demo farms and training materials all shared the same information on better growing practices and new technologies to improve yields, incomes and nutrition.

The organizations shared information on better seed varieties, land preparation and planting, with tips and facts on both the common bean and the soybean.

We tailored each method of information to the individual. Comic books could reach youth, while radio campaigns put together by Farm Radio could reach huge amounts of people across the country. Individual trainings complemented the mass information campaigns, demonstrating skills famers could take back to their fields.

Other members of the consortium worked on advocacy, bringing attention to the needs of farmers on a national level, increasing seed supplies to match the demand.

We saw an estimated 128,500 farmers start to use one or more of the practices promoted by the information campaigns, but we also learned something important.

After 28 months of the co-ordinated campaign, the SILT project has proven that the more sources of information that reach a farming household, the more likely they are to implement new technologies.

As the saying goes, teamwork makes the dreamwork!

Read more about the results of the project here.

We also worked with our partner organizations to create a guide to create similar communication for development projects in the future, available here.

This work was carried out with the aid of a grant from Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), www.idrc.ca, and with financial support from the Government of Canada, provided through Global Affairs Canada (GAC), www.international.gc.ca

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