An estimated one-third of harvested food never gets eaten. Fruits and vegetables rot in the field, spoil at the market, or go unused at home. In sub-Saharan Africa, 40% of root crops, 50% of fruits and vegetables and 20% of cereals are lost before they hit the market, with even more lost between purchase and consumption. Cutting post-harvest losses means more food for farmers and communities, and more income too. We collaborated with partners in Nigeria, Kenya and Tanzania as part of an international effort to address food loss in three major crops: mangoes, tomatoes and maize.
At the local level, farmers can reduce post-harvest loss if they are better connected to markets and better supported to meet buyer needs and expectations. Farmers also need access to existing or new technologies to fight pests, store their crops, and transport them to market.
To bridge the gap between awareness and use of these techniques and technologies, Farm Radio International worked with radio partners in Nigeria, Kenya and Tanzania to develop interactive radio programs that shared information about good agricultural practices, post-harvest handling, and market tips. Our radio programs connected farmers to input suppliers and buyers, and provided farmers with the information they needed to reduce their post-harvest losses.
By combining our industry-leading Social and Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) approaches through radio, broadcast TV, and participatory video, this project aimed to reinforce messaging and encourage changes in farming practices to help reduce post-harvest loss.
0k+Farmers implementing new practices
In Kenya, 37.1% of listeners — 125,000 farmers — started sorting and grading mangoes because of the programs. On the marketing side, 12.9% of listeners — 43,450 farmers — indicated that they started selling in groups, negotiating better prices from buyers. Harvesting practices also improved. Listeners were twice as likely to use harvest tools, fabric sacks or metal baskets to harvest their mangoes and keep the fruit from spoiling. Listeners also showed a higher likelihood to try other better practices; they topworked their mango trees more frequently (80.6% compared to 56.6%) and even took up record keeping in higher numbers than non-listeners 90.4% to 60.1%)
In Nigeria, evaluations showed 55.1% of listeners used at least three post-harvest management practices promoted on the radio shows, meaning about 576,000 tomato farmers used them across the listening area.
In Tanzania, maize-growing listeners were considerably more likely to dry their harvested maize on a tarpaulin, preventing them from spoiling, than non-listeners (55.7% to 35.3%). Only 9 % of listeners dried maize on the ground, compared to 14.3% of non-listeners. This is a marked improvement from prior to the programs, when only 41% of respondents dried maize on a tarpaulin, and a full 45% of respondents dried their maize on the ground. Listeners to the programs also saw other improvements; they were more likely to use traditional or improved granaries to store their maize, and slightly more likely to use PICS bags for storage. About one in six listeners used the PICS bags by the end of the programs, compared to only one in one in 19 prior to the programs.
🔈 A radio clip from this project
This work was carried out with the aid of a grant from The Rockefeller Foundation.
The Yieldwise SBCC initiative is a collaboration led by Farm Radio International with media partners Access Agriculture and the Mediae Company and development partners AGRA, TechnoServe and Pxyera Global in Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania.
- Duration: 3 years, 2017-2020
- Budget: $1.7M CAD
- Radio stations: 9
- Languages: Swahili, Kikuyu, English, Hausa
In 2020, the global COVID-19 pandemic forced a redesign of the project. Where programs previously focused on post-harvest loss, they were adjusted to address the direct threat of COVID-19. Three radio series per country focused on public health messaging, putting public health specialists front and centre. These 19 week series of programs were also delivered fully at a distance in order to ensure the safety of journalists, farmers and subject matter specialists. Episodes focused on introducing COVID-19; rumours and misinformation about the disease; what it meant for farmers and children; how to physical distance; marketing farming produce during market closures; and good nutrition practices.
This project was specially designed using gender-sensitive approaches, including:
- Organizing women-led community listening groups
- Gender-informed topic selection through the inclusion of women in participatory formative research
- Repeating the broadcasts at a time convenient for women farmers
During the pandemic, we adapted the program to feature discussions and share information that explores the intersections of gender and COVID-19, including the rising incidents of gender-based violence. We also developed resources created specifically on gender for on-air broadcast, including a radio drama on gender-based violence during lockdown and a Barza Wire story about how market women in Tanzania are earning a living during the pandemic by selling new products or selling in new ways.