TOF Farmer Magazine
The Organic Farmer - Practical guide for farmers in East Africa
“The Organic Farmer” (TOF) is a magazine for small-scale farmers in Kenya, who previously had limited access to information on organic farming. TOF is published monthly and is sent to farmer groups in Kenya and Tanzania (TOF Swahili). Contacts in bordering countries can also get copies by request. It is the only magazine for organic farming in East Africa and is a central element of the “Farmer Communication Programme” (FCP) set up to disseminate knowledge throughout rural East Africa. In addition to the information published in TOF, information is also disseminated on the radio, by SMS and the Infonet platform (see separate Fact Sheets). ). In Tanzania, TOF is also published in Swahili. These channels of communication provide farmers with information on organic farming methods and practical advice on how to increase yields using simple, sustainable methods.
Download "The Organic Farmer"
"TOF Magazine" is a project of the Farmer Communication Programme (FCP)
TOF, the monthly magazine for farmers is intended to provide small-scale farmers in Kenya with consistent, practical information on ecological farming so that they can improve their production, food supplies and income in a sustainable way.
The significance of organic farming in Africa differs from that in Europe: Many African farmers are unable to afford conventional farming methods using pesticides and fertilizers and so organic farming is an essential alternative. It is vital that these impoverished farming families are given help and advice on how to increase yields without major investment. Farmers have an enormous thirst for knowledge, as education and training in agriculture are almost non-existent in many parts of Africa.
A total of 32,800 copies are distributed monthly in print form to farmer groups and local partners. In addition, the magazine is also available online from the TOF and Infonet websites. The TOF farmer magazine reaches some 282,400 farmers in 41 counties in Kenya.
Objectives 2016 - 2018
• Produce and distribute the TOF farmer magazine and special editions on ecological farming
• Monitor and evaluate production and distribution processes and also the impact of the TOF farmer magazine on Kenyan farmers
Since it was launched in 2005, the circulation of the farmer magazine has steadily increased to cater for the growing demand. In 2015, the TOF was distributed not just to 2409 farmers groups but also 276 agriculture institutions, 37 churches, 250 schools, 51 private companies and 38 NGOs. The TOF editorial team has close links with icipe (Kenya’s insect research institute) and this allows it to access scientific resources.
In addition to the printed version, the TOF farmer magazine is also available electronically on the TOF and Infonet websites. A total of 458 people subscribe to the digital version. However, the number downloading the PDF version is much higher than the number of subscribers. The TOF farmer magazine has its own Facebook page and had 2,234 friends and 9,779 likes at the end of 2015.
The regular feedback is used to ensure that TOF constantly meets the needs of farmers. For example, the layout was updated in 2013 and the magazine now includes a "market" column where TOF readers can advertise and sell agricultural products. This facility is much appreciated by farmers and used enthusiastically.
In addition, the TOF website (www.theorganicfarmer.org) has been redesigned. It is now a diverse platform where young farmers can exchange and obtain information. All editions of TOF magazine are downloadable as pdf files both from this site and the Infonet website - www.infonet-biovision.net. These platforms are become increasingly important and allow users to obtain advice and exchange information on successful methods of cultivation, livestock breeding trials and cost-effective access to products .It is hoped that this will increase the interaction with younger people in particular.