By Richelle Matthews
Flipping through your radio how often do you stop the dial on your favorite agricultural radio program? Perhaps, you have a favorite agricultural television program, or you prefer an agricultural magazine instead. Have you ever stopped to think about how you stay updated on the agricultural sector, and where you would learn about agricultural if these program and publications didn’t exist? And what if you couldn’t read, neither could your neighbor, or most of you friends? Then how would you learn about agriculture?
For some countries the audience for agricultural TV and radio programs are on the rise, because they serve as a main form of agricultural education. For example, recently I had the opportunity to travel to Bangladesh to work with their Ministry of Agriculture, on improvements to their agricultural TV and radio programs. Bangladesh has a population of 160 million and agricultural broadcast media reaches out to about 80 million people throughout the country. More importantly, Bangladesh has a literacy rate of around 47%, so visual and auditory media plays a major role in educating the population.
Typical to a developing country, the government department I worked with had limited resources, and we encountered many set-backs (ie. the electricity in Bangladesh goes out every other hour…. think about what that means), BUT the Bangladeshi’s hard work and dedication shone through. And I left energized by the insightfulness of their ideas, dedication and enthusiasm to trying new ways to increase the educational effectiveness of their tv and radio programs. This experience reinforced my commitment to advancing agriculture: because in Bangladesh, if a farmer can increase his yield, it means improved food security, and an incremental increase income, which can be spent on health and education for his family. Those types of impacts change lives…
Richelle’s work is focused on agricultural broadcast media, and has worked with clients in Ghana, Kenya and Bangladesh. She also manages AdFarm’s farm project in Ghana. If you have any questions about her international work please contact her at 403-410-7659 or firstname.lastname@example.org