In Ghana, and in many parts of the world, agricultural extension is the process of educating farmers about new farming techniques and the latest agricultural innovations. In Ghana, extension officers are employed by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, or MoFA, to travel to farming communities to advise and train farmers. They keep farmers up to date on farming techniques and technologies, and advise farmers on any challenges they might be experiencing in their fields.
But, with only one extension officer to more than 1,500 farmers in the country, that can be a challenge. This is why Farm Radio International is working in partnership with Ghana’s Ministry of Food and Agriculture Directorate of Extension Services to design and implement an e-Extension service for the whole country.
Farm Radio International has identified 16 radio stations to host “digital advisory hubs” across Ghana.
These hubs, which include the radio teams and other ICT organizations, then each host three Digital Agriculture Focal Persons employed by MoFA, and trained by specialized trainers, to run the e-extension services. The approach will see 48 focal persons coordinate different digital advisory services, like Interactive Voice Response phone lines, call-in centres, or SMS message systems.
Using a radio station as a home base means that the focal persons are never far away from being able to reach farmers regularly over the airwaves and by mobile phone. It’s the first step of the strategy to use digital tools to improve extension.
They work with the radio station to plan and produce weekly episodes of a Green Leaf Radio Magazine. These radio programs are specially designed to meet the needs of farmers in a variety of ways. They share local news, new farming practices from across the continent, weather and market information, and dig deep into certain agriculture topics in multi-week campaigns on specific practices.
Results so far
0Experts trained to communicate on radio and digital
Among the Digital Agriculture Focal Persons at each station is a Woman in Agriculture Development Officer. These focal persons are tasked with both ensuring the inclusion of women’s opinions and needs in the different extensions services, and with ensuring e-Extension is, itself, accessible to women. The radio programs are aired at times convenient for local women, have dedicated space to hear the thoughts of women on the air, and extension agents actively encourage their participation.
This project is part of the Modernizing Agriculture in Ghana program supported by Global Affairs Canada, allowing Ghana to push forward in its goal of modernizing their agriculture sector.
- Duration: 24 months, 2020-2022
- Budget: $295,000 CAD
- Radio stations: 16
The shows, which are spread across the length and breadth of the country and broadcast in local languages, reach 12.2 million rural adults. The goal is for 4 million of those adults to become regular listeners with 200,000 interactions per year over mobile phones through our Uliza platform. Ideally, these programs will be sustained long into the future by both private and civil society partners.