Radio assists disabled farmers to increase yields

A group of disabled farmers in Nyeri county are recording improved yields thanks to a radio program that is teaching them simple farming techniques at a time when shortage of extension officers has affected distribution of farming information by government.

Mwangi Kiringithi listens to agricultural programs on the radio.  Every time that he listens to a radio program, he makes detailed notes for future reference. “Radio has been my extension officer”, says Mr. Kiringithi, who has put into practice innovative agricultural practices and techniques about which he has learned. With the new impact-driven Farmer Voice Radio (FVR) programs broadcast on Coro FM, Mr. Kiringithi reports benefiting further from FVR Agricultural Tips (AgTips) that are brief and relevant.

Mr. Kiringithi is the secretary of a group of farmers with various disabilities in Mathira, Nyeri District, in Kenya. The group is engaged in a variety of agricultural activities and they are passionate about listening to the radio.  Members phone each other to listen to agricultural radio programs together, particularly when there is an interesting topic on air. A few group members specifically purchased cellular phones with radio receivers so that they would not miss important programs.

Mr. Kiringithi started growing apples, orchid plant folia, and pawpaw after listening to an FVR program on other small farmers who have successfully cultivated this produce. FVR AgTips on tissue culture bananas and drip irrigation have also aroused his interest, and he has contacted the producer of the program for further information. He shares the new agricultural information and techniques that he has learned about from the radio with other farmers in his village.

Mr. Kiringithi and his group demonstrate that radio can be an effective mechanism for distributing extension services, and that people with disabilities can make an important contribution in their families and their communities.