Farmers count on video to boost yields

An innovative group has introduced mobile video lessons targeting Uganda farmers to bridge the acute undersupply of extension officers and boost yields.

Strained by the need to better farmers livelihoods Sasakawa Global 2000 has realized the need to embrace technology in their quest to positively impact on the rural population. Daniel Olo a program officer from the organization explained, “We have worked with farmers in Uganda for over a decade and as a result, have realized the need for extension services especially on adoption of better farming techniques in order to realize our main goal of ensuring food security among the rural population as well as revolutionizing subsistence farming into commercial ones.

Due to the few extension officers both from the government and our own, we realized that our dream may never be achieved hence the introduction of mobile video tutorials in order to complement the few extension officers on the ground.”

The model which was introduced in early February 2014 is widely praised by the group as  a better way of changing farmers’ fortune. “We are using success stories of farmers to inspire other farmers because during our trade in the field, we have realized that farmers tend to easily associate and adopt better techniques and skills especially when they are being disseminated from their fellow farmers rather than from an expert,” explained Daniel.

The videos are translated into local languages for easy comprehension by the target farmers in the rural areas. According to Daniel, videos showcased are carefully chosen to include all the production chain values right from soil preparation, planting up to harvesting. 

Farmers from North eastern districts of the country have already benefited including Dokolo, Lira, Apac among others. The mobile video sessions are organised through the local government authorities who carry out the awareness campaigns. The sessions are conducted on a weekly basis until the end of the module being disseminated. Daniel noted, “We attract huge numbers of farmer from every village with an average of 200 farmers being recorded in every training session.”

The mobile videos are aired on the mobile soil lab truck that was donated into the country by German government. The initiative which is a private public partnership is geared towards availing affordable solutions to small scale farmers most of whom cannot access the services of the available research personnel either due to logistical challenges or ignorance.

The group also uses the same mobile truck which is fitted with a state of the art lab to conduct soil testing for farmers. The project is supported by K+S Kali GmBH, Sasakawa Africa Association (ASA) and the University of Göttingen in Germany which is supporting it with its’ expertise in soil analysis.