A six-month agriculture radio program aimed at bolstering farmers’ efforts has been launched by ACDI-VOCA, an international agriculture development organization. The project targets Bong and Nimba Counties with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The radio project is under ACDI-VOCA’s Agriculture for Children Empowerment (ACE) program and is collaborating with two community radio stations, Radio Gbarnga in Bong and Radio Saclapea in Nimba County. The project will serve as platform for broadcasting messages around innovative agricultural best practices, increase flows of reliable information within the Vegetable and rice value chains, and facilitate closer interactions between smallholder farmers and value chain actors.
Speaking at the launch of the radio project in Saclepea, Nimba County, the director for ACDI-VOCA Agriculture for Children Empowerment Project Laveto Akoi-Forkpa said the initiative was designed primarily to enable smallholder farmers in the two counties have access to relevant information that promote farming as a business to enhance their livelihoods.
He indicated access to updated information by smallholder farmers in Liberia on innovative agricultural practices is limited. In most cases, he said, local farmers’ primary source of information remains their friends and family network and occasionally government agriculture extension officers and NGOs staff.
The ACDI- VOCA project director further stressed that agricultural knowledge among smallholders is often outdated and a contributing factor to poor performance which the project seeks to address through the radio program campaign expected to benefit over 300 smallholder farmers in the two counties beyond the targeted farmers the project is covering.
Mr. Akoi-Forkpa indicated that to ensure that smallholders effectively benefit from profitable value chains, it is important that they have better access to credible information in a timely manner and have the opportunity to interact more closely with relevant private sector partners.
He mentioned during the course of the agriculture radio campaign which is expected to run up to June 2013, farmers will be provided relevant information to increase their knowledge of simple farm management techniques for improved yields; increase knowledge on quality control, packaging requirements and marketing strategies , increase smallholder knowledge of existing agribusiness services, business information and facilitate their linkages to new market opportunities, price information sharing among others.