A group of 18 farmers – men and women – are crammed into Catherine Akhayati’s living room and watch with interest as two members of staff from the Biovision Africa Trust (BvAT) place a video projector on a small tower of wooden tables. Someone closes the door and it’s dark. As the machine starts to whir, the show begins.
Some 15 minute later, the room is buzzing with excitement and debate. The video “Unpeeling the rot in Kenya’s mango chain” has raised many questions. Some of the farmers are sceptical about the methods put forward. Others feel inspired by the prospect of earning more money from healthy fruit. Enter Musdalafa Lyaga, a journalist with the Biovision Africa Trust (BvAT) in Nairobi and his colleague Michael Wangalwa, an agricultural adviser. First of all they calm down the mood in the room and then give competent answers to questions from the group. “Dialogue between the farmers is very important,” says Musdalafa. “It encourages mutual trust and is crucial to fostering a willingness to help one another. Of course, members of the group also need to return home armed with useful information and must be able to put into practice the advice and tips”.
Since joining BvAT in 2014, Musdalafa has produced more than 100 radio programmes and many teaching videos. He wants to showcase sustainable farming practices to as many small-scale farmers in Kenya as possible and demonstrate how they can increase their incomes. The radio programmes are broadcast every Thursday on Kenya’s national station KBC. In addition to the broadcasts themselves, the videos also find their way onto a variety of social media channels. Musdalafa recently won an international media award for his film on the problems of mango farmers in eastern Kenya – evidence of the high quality of his work.
Film award 2017
At the 8th International Forum for Food and Nutrition of the Barilla Foundation 2017, Musdalafa Lyaga was awarded a prize for his film on improving mango yields in Kenya.
The Biovision Farmer Communication Programme (FCP) is a multi-media package of measures that disseminates information in print format, on the radio and the Internet as well as providing personal advice to local farmers. It ensures a continual exchange of targeted knowledge and experience between farmers and scientists. The FCP underpins the basic projects of Biovision in Sub-Saharan Africa.