Shruti Patel, Programme Officer Farmer Communication Programme
In the second week of January, the Biovision Africa Trust (Bvat) signed a landmark agreement with The Standard Group, one of Kenya’s largest media houses. The partnership will raise awareness of harmful agricultural practices, particularly pesticide overuse, and provide millions of farmers with access to information on ecologically-friendly farming practices through a variety of channels.
Regular coverage on eco-agriculture topics
Weekly radio broadcasts aired on the country’s 2nd most popular station, Maisha FM will bring on board 5 million listeners. Radio content will also be promoted on the popular KTN Farmers’ television channel, and over 1 million young people will see tips and advice on agri-preneurship via the Groups’ well-established social media channels. Readers of print media will benefit from regular coverage on topics related to ecological agriculture in a leading newspaper that is circulated nationwide.
Through another partnership with publisher Smart Farmer Africa, BVAT’s own long-standing farmers’ magazine, The Organic Farmer (TOF) will begin featuring more diverse content and integrate mobile-based SMS competitions to create engaging reader experiences.
These channels complement BVAT’s existing information services which include radio broadcasts in local dialects, face to face training via 15 regional farmer resource centres, and infonet - a website containing in-depth, locally-relevant information on plant, animal, human, and environmental health.
Climate shocks and rising concerns about food safety
The collaborations come amidst increasingly frequent shocks to agricultural production stemming from climate unpredictability, pest attacks, and rising concerns about food safety. These challenges underscore the need to scale-up knowledge on agricultural technologies, which build resilience and secure food sovereignty. Through these initiatives, BVAT’s pioneering work in this field is set to reach new heights.