In 2011, Farm Radio International (FRI) launched the African Rural Radio Program Analysis (ARRPA) project. ARRPA is the first study of its kind. For donors, radio practitioners and organizations who wish to partner with radio stations in sub-Saharan Africa, ARRPA’s detailed findings and analysis provide a comprehensive picture of the often challenging conditions in which farmer radio programs are produced. The picture that ARRPA paints about the circumstances in which farmer radio programming operates, the strengths of radio stations and the challenges they face in producing farmer programs, and the desires and preferences of farmer-listeners provides an indispensable foundation that will inform future partnerships between rural broadcasters in sub-Saharan Africa and organizations who wish to collaborate with them.Radio is widely acknowledged as the best medium for delivering farming information to small-scale farmers in sub-Saharan Africa, even as newer technologies are increasingly adopted. In fact, rural radio has experienced a renaissance of late, both with respect to the widespread acknowledgement of its unrivaled potential for disseminating information and supporting positive change, and also in terms of the growing interest in radio on the part of donors and international NGOs.
The goals of the ARRPA project were to deepen understanding of the state of farmer radio programming in sub-Saharan Africa, and gain insights to make FRI’s services more responsive and effective. Prior to this study, little was known about the circumstances in which African farm broadcasters operate. There was little documentation or analysis of the production practices used in farmer radio programs, and whether farmer programs broadcast by radio stations in sub-Saharan Africa effectively serve listeners’ needs. ARRPA helped fill these knowledge gaps. The study documented a host of details, including: how farmer programs are put together, the resource challenges that stations face, listener preferences, and to what degree these programs inform farmers, are respectful of farmers, engage and entertain farmers, and include farmers’ own voices.
This is a summary of the full research report which is available here.