Connecting with farmers over the airwaves, in the field and by phone

Connecting with farmers over the airwaves, in the field and by phone

Tanzanian broadcaster Clara Moita: George Atkins Communications Award winner

 
Clara Moita has been broadcasting with Radio 5, based in Arusha, Tanzania, since 2007. She is on air with the Amka (Wake Up) and Fahari Yangu (My Pride) programs, both of which are broadcast to a small-scale farming audience.
 
Fahari Yangu has a special focus on agricultural development, and is particularly popular with farmers because of both the information shared and the interactivity. The program shares weather, nutrition and marketing information, as well as information on new agricultural practices.
 
“It is a participatory radio program and has been popular especially for farmers because of its contents and interactivity that help [farmers] learn more about improved agricultural practices and hence change their attitude and practices from traditional farming methods to improved and modern farming methods,” said Clara.
 
Clara enjoys hearing from her audience, but acknowledges that it’s not always easy for broadcasters to go out to the field to meet farmers where they live and work.
 
“I remember the challenges I faced when I started my mission of serving farmers through radio,” she said. “It was really challenging to reach farmers by visiting their farms and getting their voices heard. However, through call-in and message services, the program has been able to attract interactions from many farmers across the country.”
 
Farm Radio International has supported Clara and the Radio 5 staff in these efforts by introducing them to the power of Radio 2.0 — combining mobile phone technology to make radio more interactive. Having a call-in line or two — with one dedicated to women callers — can ensure farmers are heard on the program. Text messaging services or beep2vote polling can allow farmers to weigh in on the question of the day.
 
Beep2vote is an innovative polling system that is free and simple for listeners. Broadcasters share a multiple choice poll question with a specific number dedicated to each response. Farmers can call and leave a missed call “beep” indicating their response. An interactive voice response system can call back listeners who voted and ask follow-up questions, providing farmers with an opportunity to share their opinions on the radio show, or on farming issues important to them.
 
By using beep2vote to make the Fahari Yangu program more interactive, Clara has learned about her listeners’ interests, experiences and information needs. Based on these needs, she has connected farmers with extension officers who can answer listeners’ questions.
 
“It has been easy for farmers to interact with extension officers as well through Fahari Yangu. The program has made it possible for women farmers to access extension services just like men. This group of farmers was previously bypassed by extension services,” said Clara.
 
Clara was one of the passionate broadcasters awarded the 2015 George Atkins Communications Award. The award is presented each year to an individual that demonstrates overall programming excellence in responding to small-scale farmers’ needs as well as commitment to Farm Radio International.

3 Comments On This Topic
  1. Golden sibanda Mbundu
    on Apr 9th at 8:19 am

    we are a farmers radio called farmers network radio newly formed in zambia.kindly advise how we can learn more from you

    Reply
    • Farm Radio International
      on Jul 29th at 8:28 am

      Hi! It sounds like you might want to become one of our broadcasting partners. You can find more information here. If you have any questions, please email us at info@farmradio.org. Thank you!

      Reply

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