In Uganda, 80 per cent of households in the country are involved in agriculture. In rural communities, that number is even higher. At the same time, extension services remain low — only five per cent of households received advice from an extension worker in 2019. It makes it difficult for farmers in Uganda to get access to reliable, up-to-date information about regenerative and circular agriculture. Modernizing extension services in Uganda, and across Africa, is ongoing. Digital extension is particularly important and a priority for ministries of agriculture and the private sector as they strive to provide cost-effective and consistent extension and advisory services to all farmers.
The Platform project aims to provide a majority of rural people in Uganda with reliable, continuous and powerful communication service through interactive e-extension platforms that share knowledge, facilitate dialogue, give voice, and stimulate positive change when it comes to regenerative and circular agriculture. Working with the Ugandan Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, as well as a variety of private and public stakeholders, the project will establish the building blocks for a network of digital extension platforms hosted at 12 radio stations to create dialogue and knowledge-sharing communication hubs aimed at providing farmers with the latest regenerative agriculture practices, as well as marketing and business advice. These same platforms will enable regenerative agriculture experts to disseminate knowledge of what works, while allowing farmers to share their own experiences and ideas.
The Platform project is an initial step towards a country-wide e-extension communication service, with the ultimate goal of ensuring that at least 70 per cent of small-scale farming women, men and youth across the country are served by sustainable, powerful e-extension platforms. This will enable them to adopt planet-positive farming practices that will help them earn a decent income and afford a better life for their families.
The first phase of the project will:
- Enable more than 1.5 million rural people in Uganda to access the radio programs
- 525,000 listeners would use the service regularly (40% being women and youth)
- Provide 20% of rural people across Uganda access to the programs.
Additionally, the project will be exploring ways to create effective business and sustainability plans for the platforms, working with sponsors to ensure they will continue long into the future.
The project also aims to develop effective ways of assessing the ways and degree to which the e-extension platforms are changing access to effective communication channels, facilitating improved decision-making, shifts in knowledge, attitudes and practices, and quality of life.
- Duration: 24 months, 2022-2024
- Budget: $1,414,000 CAD
- Radio stations: 12
- Languages: 12
We know that there is a digital divide when it comes to women accessing e-extension services — and extension services in general. The Platform project will specifically work with local women’s rights organizations, train radio station staff in gender-sensitive practices, and ensure that the platforms are gender-inclusive, responding to the needs of both women and men. A similar project on e-extension in Ghana found that 40 per cent of women in the broadcast areas listened to the specialized radio programs developed as part of the e-extension system.