Multimedia helps increase adoption of sustainability


image: A multimedia approach to extension services has been associated with increased adoption of the practices and technologies promoted as part of a movement towards greater sustainable agricultural intensification in Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda
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A multimedia approach to extension services has helped increase the uptake of Sustainable Agricultural Intensification (SAI) in Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda under the African Soil Health Consortium (ASHC) scaling-up campaigns focused on the main crops of maize, common beans, soybeans, cassava, potatoes and bananas.

New research, led by Dr Monica Kansiime, reveals that ASHC campaigns have reached the scale of the reach of farmers and stimulated adoption of SAI technologies promoted through 18 campaigns which used radio programs, dramas, comics, community video screenings, a short message service (SMS) sent via cell phones, printed materials, demonstration plots and Village Advisors (VBAs) – often in an integrated fashion.

The study – published in the journal International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability – demonstrates that the mixed media approach to advising smallholder farmers on how to improve their crop yields has resulted in the adoption of SAI practices by at least 20% of those exposed to the countryside.

The results show that between 2015 and 2018, the ASHC program was able to provide opportunities for increased participation of men, women and youth in campaigns aimed at improving soil fertility management, soil conservation and water, conservation agriculture, intercropping and legume rotations. , new crop varieties, integrated pest management and precision agriculture.

The ASHC initiative aimed to promote proven SAI practices and technologies for key crops through other multi-partner projects, including SILT (Scaling up improved legume technologies), SUPPORTED (Scaling up technologies in agriculture through knowledge and extension) and GALA (Gender and the Legume Alliance: Integrating Multimedia Communication Approaches and Input Brokerage).

Dr Kansiime, who is based at CABI Regional Center for Africa in Nairobi, Kenya, said: “Although various SAI practices have been developed to achieve sustainable scaling up, it is widely recognized that many of them are not reaching their full potential due to their low uptake. .

“Our study shows that exposure to multiple communication approaches – essentially using the same message sent through different channels to strengthen message retention – was associated with increased adoption of the promoted practices and technologies, compared to using only one channel.

“Above all, the development of relevant and localized content, multi-partner approaches and the deployment of innovative information channels targeting different audience categories have all been key factors in the success of ASHC campaigns.

Research found that cell phone use tended to favor men, especially young men who were more likely to use phones and access information using these devices.

In the SMS campaign in Tanzania, for example, only 30% of women received messages directly, even when profiling of farmers was aimed at increasing numbers. It was because the women were reluctant to give their numbers to strangers.

Likewise, radio campaigns also tend to favor men, although the percentages of female listeners are higher than for mobile, typically around 40%.

“Women tended to rely more on community sources of information such as demonstration plots, radio listening groups and video projections in villages, compared to men who, in addition to community sources, used the community. radio and other media approaches, ”added Dr Kansiime. .

The study team found that their results are consistent with other multimedia success stories highlighted elsewhere. For example, Karubanga et al. (2016) showed greater potential for integrating video extension and face-to-face extension approaches – as the two are complementary in the different stages of farmer learning (creation of awareness, knowledge acquisition and retention, respectively).

Dr Kansiime said: “The experience of ASHC demonstrates the effectiveness of campaigns as a complement to more conventional extension programs. This, moreover, matches evidence from areas of human health and nutrition where these approaches are more common.

“However, adoption varies depending on the nature of the practice or technology promoted, farmer motivators such as access to input and product markets, farmers’ investment capacity and value. harvest, etc. “

She added that the wide range of technology options available and their interactions require farmers to identify a “logical step-by-step sequence for adoption” that matches their socio-economic circumstances.

“There is a need to provide more tailored information through a step-by-step approach, ie presenting farmers with subsequent agronomic options ranging from low to high investment and which are linked to farmers’ investment capacities.

“Incremental investment can maximize the return on investment for farmers relative to their financial capacity and encourage them to enter a positive cycle of on-farm investment, provided production markets are resilient,” she said. declared.

Additional information

Main picture: A multimedia approach to extension services has been associated with increased adoption of the practices and technologies promoted as part of a move towards greater sustainable agricultural intensification in Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda (Pixabay) .

Complete paper reference

Kansiime K. Monica, Njunge Rahab, Innocent Okuku, Edward Baars, Alokit Christine, Duah Solomon, Gakuo Stephanie, Karanja Lucy, Mchana Abigael, Mibei Henry, Musebe Richard, Romney Dannie, Rware Harrison, Silvestri Silvia, Sones Duncan and Watiti James, “Bringing Sustainable Agricultural Intensification Practices and Technologies to Scale Through Campaign-Based Extension Approaches: Lessons from the African Soil Health Consortium”, September XX, International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, DOI:

The paper can be viewed here:

African Soil Health Consortium

Learn more about the Africa Soil Health Consortium and its working in partnership to create concrete campaigns on integrated soil fertility management from its dedicated website


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