20 September 2017

Malawi: Farm Radio Trust Promotes Use of Radio, Phones in Extension Services

Farm Radio Trust (FRT) intends to mobilize 98 farmer groups in Mangochi to equip them with skills to access and disseminate agricultural extension services through radios and mobile phones.

The farmer groups will be mobilized from all 11 Extension Planning Areas (EPAs) to fill the existing gap in extension services.

The initiative which is under Interactive Weather and Climate Adaptation Radio Programming project is targeting Balaka, Mangochi, Zomba, Blantyre and Chikwawa districts.

FRT Moses Kaufa said in an interview that the farmer groups would be mobilized through community Information Communications Technology (ICT) hub which promotes the use of ICT facilities in agriculture.

He said the initiative would narrow the existing gap in extension services where farmer to extension providers is currently very huge.

Kaufa said, "This initiative aims at filling the existing gap in extension services through radios and basic mobile phones."

The Project Officer said through the project, farmers would be organized into groups to discuss pertinent issues in agriculture which would be recorded and aired in Ulimi ndi Nyengo programme on Zodiak and Gaka radios.

Kaufa said through the discussions, farmers would be able to identify problems and come up with possible solutions to address the same.

He said the farmers would be trained on how to use mobile phones to access information on best agriculture practices through SMSs.

"Each community ICT hub is given a solar powered radio for the members to use when listening to special agriculture programmes and they are encouraged to share the information with others," he added.

There are 98 community ICT hubs across the 11 Extension Planning Areas (EPAs) in Mangochi. Each hub has a membership of 20.

FRT is implementing the project in conjunction with the World Food Programme (WFP), Department of Climate Change and Metrological Services, and Ministry of Agriculture respectively.

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