Agriculture is the largest source of employment for communities in the northern parts of Ghana. Poor soils, low productivity and increasingly unpredictable rainy seasons are all challenges for farmers in these areas. Proper nutrient management is critical to increase crop yields on a farm.
The core principle of nutrient management in agriculture is allocating available organic nutrients in a way that maximizes their economic benefit while minimizing their environmental impact. Many farmers have inadequate knowledge and information regarding the '4Rs' of crop nutrition (the right source, right rate, right time and right place of fertilizer application). Applying 4R knowledge to crop production can improve soil health and increase productivity.
To equip farmers with the information they require to scale up best practices and improve their livelihoods, the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Project (4R-NSP) promoted the use of the right fertilizer, at the right rate, at the right time and at the right place through the effective use of interactive radio programming. Integrated with digital tools, this project shared information about key 4R-NSP technologies that Co-operative Development Foundation Canada sought to promote.
Our approach centred on communication grounded in genuine participation and interaction with target audiences and active collaboration with key stakeholder groups such as SEND Ghana, Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada, the District Department of Agriculture and community farmer-based organizations. Farm Radio International built the capacity of radio broadcasters and their agriculture and development partners to design and deliver quality programming that shared credible information, built knowledge and facilitated dialogue, particularly on topics like identified crop nutrition best practices and general good agricultural practices.
We worked with four radio stations in Ghana’s Northern and Savannah regions. We ensured that, in addition to crop and agriculture practices, our partner radio stations addressed gender equality, COVID-19 and other rural issues relevant to smallholder farmers.
🔈 A radio clip from this project
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Project is a project led by the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada, funded by Global Affairs Canada.
- Duration: 2 years, 2020 to 2022
- Budget: $115,533 CAD
- Radio stations: 4
- Languages: Hausa, Likpakpa, Dagbani, Gonja and Twi
- Magyk FM
- Kan FM
- Star FM
- Radio Bimbilla
Here are some highlighted results from this project:
- The four participating radio stations broadcast a total of 166 episodes (significantly exceeding our target of 72 episodes).
- In our endline evaluation of 314 farmers, 56.4% had listened to a radio program broadcast through the project.
- The listenership rate was higher for women (55.4%) than for men (44.6%).
- The majority (57.5%) of listeners had listened to the radio program at least 30 times.
- Surveyed farmers displayed good knowledge of and attitudes toward appropriate fertilizer use and other good agricultural practices.
- The overwhelming majority (89%) of respondents stated that the best fertilizer application includes applying at the right time, using the dibbling method, using the bottle head as the standard of measure and placing it close to the plant.
- 98% of surveyed farmers agreed that using chemical fertilizers and pesticides is necessary to get a high yield of crops.
- The majority (59%) of farmers in the East Gonja District who listened to the radio program indicated they planted in rows during the last two farming seasons (a practice that leads to better yields).
To promote gender equality and ensure that the needs of both women and men smallholder farmers were met:
- Farm Radio International delivered gender training for project partners and radio broadcasters on how to build gender-responsive radio programming.
- FRI provided radio partners with gender resources and tools to help broadcasters in their programming.
- FRI made sure to include women in the workshops to design the content of radio programs.
- FRI engaged women and men small-scale farmers to understand gender issues in agriculture to build more relevant programming.
- Participating radio stations broadcast gender-specific episodes to address gender roles, societal and cultural needs, and the interests of both women and men smallholder farmers.
- Radio stations profiled women in leadership roles in their programs.