By: Linda Dede Nyanya Godji
More than 2500 smallholder Maize, Rice, Soya bean, and Vegetable farmers in the four regions of the North have benefited from a two-year Remote-led Radio and ICT-based Agricultural Services (RAISE) Project.
The RAISE project was implemented by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) in Ghana through the Partnership for USAID Ghana Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa (GIAT) project in collaboration with Farm Radio International.
Farm Radio International worked to strengthen the local radio capacities and agriculture content which is broadcasted to the farmers at the critical stages of agricultural production. This was achieved by strengthening the capacity of radio stations and key stakeholder groups to plan, deliver, monitor & manage quality interactive rural radio (IRR) programming to deliver knowledge on technologies for increased crop productivity and resilience as well as knowledge on inputs and markets across the value chain.
At a workshop in Accra to discuss the learnings from the RAISE project, it was evident that the role and importance of radio in education and dissemination of information and the use of and Mobile Platforms for Knowledge Communication Market Linkage for Value Chain Development cannot be over-emphasised.
Presenting the analysis of a Baseline and an Endline study, the MERL Officer (Regional), Farm Radio International Dr. Samuel Kojo Antobam, explained that the positive results of the project as most of the farmers who tune in regularly have increased their yields through the application of the good agricultural practices, they learned from the radio programmes.
So far, seven hundred and thirty (730) live and repeat radio programmes were broadcasted and still counting within the project districts, across 13 radio stations. Farmers who regularly tuned in and interacted among themselves also benefited from the Agric extension services as part of the project.
Mr Antobam noted that “visits were made to farmers on their farm to inspect the implementation of learnings from the programmes on radio.”
Speaking on the role of radio in value chain development, a development consultant and lecturer, Dr. Paschal Atengdem encouraged stakeholders to adopt the RAISE project throughout the entire agricultural value chain, which he noted will help ensure food security in the country.
“The RAISE project currently is focused on crops like Maize, Rice Soya beans and vegetables and farmers are experiencing good yields, hence the need to replicate the progress for all crops so that all farmers will benefit.” Dr. Atengdem stressed.
Some of the farmers who were at the programme had this to say: “I adopted the best practice of planting maize in rows, fertiliser application and I also learnt how to practice cutting before transplanting them. Now I get more money than using the traditional methods.”
Another farmer from the Nkoranza South District, Mr. Adjei Appiah says he won the best farmer award in his district in 2021 edition of Farmers Day, due to the best practices learnt. “My farming methods and practices have changed” he added.
Touching on the sustainability strategy, the Country Director of Farm Radio Ghana, Mr. Benjamin Fiafor said, plans are advanced to extend the project to all the16 regions of the country under the Green Leaf Programme.
Likewise, with the Public-Private partnership agreement developed between Farm Radio and businesses (NASTAG, Esoko, Access Agriculture, CountryWise Communication, Grameen Foundation, AgroCenta Limited, Syecomp), to support the continuous running of the interactive radio platforms.
Another strategy is to link radio partners to other funding opportunities to ensure the continuous running of the radio programme.
RAISE is aimed at disseminating accurate, reliable, and timely agricultural information through Agric radio programs to small-holder farmers in Northern, Savannah, Upper East, Upper West, North East, Bono and Bono East Regions.
The project worked to catalyse and sustain an inclusive agricultural transformation to increase income and improve the food security of small-holder farmers by promoting and strengthening remote-led gender-responsive extension services delivery in Ghana.
Summary of the key activities of the project
● A total of fifteen (13) local radio stations signed up and participated as partner radio stations on the project and received training and coaching to produce and broadcast program based on Farm Radio Standards
● Thirteen (13) radio stations were coached on how to use Farm Radio Resource Package for broadcasting to ensure quality programming
● Seven hundred and thirty hours (730) of live and repeat radio programs aired so far and still counting within the project districts across 13 radio stations
● 29,989 responses, questions and comments were captured on FRI interactive radio and ICT Platform and 8,466 unique respondents were responsible for the over 29,000 questions and responses on the ICT platform.
●To ensure collaboration and sustainability, a total of 18 partnerships were established with Public, Private, and CSO, to support continuous quality radio programming
● 5 partnerships were established with stakeholders involved in promoting climate-smart agriculture technologies to enrich the production and dissemination of CSA
● 1 Farm Radio Resource Package was developed
● Produced Farm Radio Resource package on agricultural themes of focus value chains and COVID-19 protocols produced