Radio: A high impact communication medium in rural Mali
In rural Mali, the radio can be an effective mode of spreading awareness about agriculture, health, food and nutrition, etc. A recent training session in radio program production, broadcasting and evaluation found eager participantion from farmers, researchers, extension agents, and more. Jointly conducted by ICRISAT and the Institut d’Economie Rurale (IER), Mali, the workshop involved radio broadcasters from four implementing regions of the UE-APSAN-Mali project.
Since the participants were community and national radio broadcasters working with implementing partners such as farmer organizations and NGOs, the workshop focused on sharing information on improved seeds, crop management, food diversification and nutrition embedded into the Smart Food initiative. Another focus of the training was on participatory agricultural radio programs examining improved technologies to meet the needs of the audiences from the respective target zones.
During the session, scientists in charge of sorghum, millet, groundnut and cowpea breeding from ICRISAT and IER, as well as representatives of farmers organizations (Local Union of Cereal Producers and COPROSEM) discussed the efficient use of radio as a means to reach community members.
“This two-day workshop is an opportunity to meet, exchange information and strengthen the collaboration between all actors for good dissemination and better impact of agricultural technologies in the target communities,” said Dr Ramadjita Tabo, Regional Director, West and Central Africa, in his opening remarks.
“It was great to understand the comparative advantage of improved varieties with regard to climate change, diseases and other threats. We hope that our target audiences in the farming communities get a better understanding of these technologies and will eventually be willing to test and adopt them,” said
Mr Adama Sanogo, Director of Radio Bendougou, Bla, Segou region, Mali.
“I was delighted to learn about the many processed products that can be processed out of millet, sorghum, groundnut and cowpea. Also, these crops are resilient to climate variability and also very nutritious; they can help improve the health of consumers. Farmers need to learn and understand the scope and utility of these improved technologies for increased food and nutrition security in our communities,” said
Mrs Oumou Berthe,
rural radio, ORTM, Bamako, Mali.
“The choice of the radio as the preferred means of communicating the EU-APSAN-Mali project’s achievements is not by accident. Admittedly, information technologies have grown rapidly over the past three decades, but even then, radio remains a popular, economical and accessible means of communication in rural farming areas.
“It allows us to communicate in the local language to inform, give voice to rural development actors and build social awareness to accelerate adoption of new technologies for change.
“While choosing to dedicate space to this exceptional communication tool that is radio, we remain open to other means of information and communication that are participatory in approach. The main objective of this workshop is to bridge the gap between rural radio experts and agricultural extensionists, as well as that between researchers and extension agents.
“We hope that this workshop will also mark the beginning of participatory agricultural radio program broadcaster network towards an increased impact of the EU-APSAN-Mali project as well as other ICRISAT and IER projects in Mali,” said Dr Tabo.
The training consisted of presentations of various improved technologies by scientists, followed by working groups to identify the information needs of different segment of targeted audiences. It was organized by the communication services of ICRISAT and IER (lead implementing partners of the UE-APSAN-Mali project), in collaboration with FOSCAR-Mali, an expert of participatory radio programs and impact evaluation.
Kayes, Koulikoro, Segou and Sikasso are the four regions implementing the European Union-funded project UE-APSAN-Mali (‘Enhancing crop productivity and climate resilience for Food and Nutrition Security in Mali). The training workshop was organized from 28–29 September 2021 at ICRISAT regional hub in Mali.
A total of 45 people registered and participated to the event, including 17 radios producers and broadcasters.
“I learned how important it is to plan radio programs according to the cropping calendar. This allows farmers to have timely information on each stage of the season,” said Ms Kadiatou Dembele, host, Radio Yeredon, Koutiala Region, Mali.
“It was really impressive to learn that so many nutritious dishes can be made from our staples to improve household nutrition. Back at my radio station, I plan to produce messages to further build our community’s knowledge on the nutritional values of these crops which, far from being poor, should be given a priority in our diets,” commented Sayon Irene Koloma, Radio Kafo Kan, Bougouni, Sikasso Region, Mali
“Kayes, which is my region of origin, is an area of high immigration. Agriculture is not as well developed as in other regions of Mali. I believe that the use of these technologies can help improve agriculture in my region and thus contribute to jobs creating and reduction of immigration especially among the youth” explained Mr Charles Samba Sissoko, Radio Sigui FM, Region of Kayes, Mali.
“The workshop emphasized the nutritional value of the project target crops. Many people think that millet or sorghum can be eaten only as couscous and other traditional dishes but this project has demonstrated that it is possible to make more products out of these crops and I wish to spread this message,” emphasized Mr Issa Tangara, Diamako radio broadcaster, Yangasso, Region of Segou Mali.
Reported by Agathe Diama,
Head, Regional Information, ICRISAT – WCA
For more on our work in Mali, click here: Mali| EXPLOREit@ICRISAT