Though access to certified seed in sub-Saharan Africa varies by country, farmers continue to face barriers to accessing high-quality seeds. At the same time, the average amount of fertilizer nutrients used in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in 2017 was only 17 kg/ha, which is well below the Abuja Declaration target of 50 kg/ha. Good seeds and appropriate fertilizer usage means healthier yields and better outcomes for farmers.
IFDC and CORAF, in their respective projects "Enhancing Growth through Regional Agricultural Input Systems” (EnGRAIS) and "Partnership for Agricultural Research, Education and Development” (PAIRED), funded by the United States Agency for International Development West Africa Regional Mission, are encouraging producers to make more profit by using Agricultural Input Packages. These packages are a combination of the use of improved seed varieties, appropriate fertilizer recommendations and Good Agricultural Practices specific to the Agro-Ecological Zones for a given crop.
Farm Radio International (FRI) strove to develop the capacity of radio stations in Ghana and Nigeria to produce and broadcast an interactive radio campaign on an Agricultural Input Package (AIP) related to the use of suitable agricultural inputs, including improved seed varieties and appropriate fertilizer recommendations. The overall goal was improved uptake of AIPs by farmers in Ghana and Nigeria to improve rural livelihoods and food security.
FRI worked with the selected radio stations to produce and air an interactive radio program containing relevant AIP information about how to use AIPs and how to apply the concept to specific crops and Agro-Ecological Zones. The program was shared using radio and social media (Facebook and WhatsApp).
The radio programs drew content from and promoted an online platform called Fersewam that includes AIPs for specific Agro-Ecological Zones and crops. The programs also featured a weekly mobile phone-based quiz. Input companies gave agricultural inputs and other prizes to quiz winners during the live program broadcast.
We exceeded several targets for this project:
- We worked with nine radio stations instead of four.
- There were 430,317 mobile interactions compared to the target of 25,000.
- 5,306,662 farmers were reached with information on appropriate and relevant AIPs for the cultivation of rice, soybean and maize against a target of 700,000.
- 144 live and 144 repeat episodes were broadcast by partner radio stations (against a goal of 60 episodes).
From our endline survey of 425 agricultural households in Ghana and 418 respondents in Nigeria:
- A majority of respondents in Nigeria (99%) were aware of the appropriate timing for the first application of fertilizer on a rice farm (two to three weeks after planting).
- In Nigeria, listeners (54%) were more aware of recommended soybean varieties than non-listeners were (30%).
- 58% of respondents in Ghana knew that fertilizer should not contact the seed when added to planting holes.
🔈 A radio clip from this project
This project is made possible by IFDC and CORAF, thanks to the financial support of USAID.
- Duration: 7 months, 2022 to 2023
- Budget: $223,317 CAD
- Radio stations: 9
- Languages: Ewe, Twi, Dagbani, Sisale, Kussal, Hausa, Yoruba, Pidgin
- Radio Savannah
- Lolonyo FM
- Atoobu FM
- Fabea FM
- Quality FM
- Pyramid FM
To ensure that both women and men smallholder farmers benefited from the information about AIPs, we conducted gender-sensitive formative research and baseline and endline surveys and collaborated with women’s rights and gender organizations. We also incorporated gender issues into our in-station training for radio stations and the design and delivery of radio programs. To increase women’s comfort level participating in radio programs, we strove for gender balance in production teams and featured women resource persons on air.