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Radio stations supported to promote best agricultural practices in northern Ghana

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Telecoms mastAgricultural Development and Value Chain Enhancement (ADVANCE), a USAID funded project, has supported 20 radio stations in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions to promote best agricultural practices for farmers through radio programming.

These stations, including GBC Radio Upper West, are expected to form “listenership” clubs in farming communities and develop comprehensive agricultural programmes to suit the interest of the farmers in their areas of operation.

Mr. Francis Essuman, ADVANCE Regional Coordinator for Upper West, said this  during the inauguration of one of the listenership clubs at Gindabuo in the Sawla-Tuna-Kalba District.

The programme was under the theme: “Towards Effective Agriculture Radio Information Delivery: The Role of the Listenership Clubs.”

He said the 20 radio stations would be linked to experts and resource persons from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) and the Savannah Agricultural Research Institute among others to lead the radio discussions.

Mr. Essuman said 90 clubs had been formed out of which 37 are in the Upper West Region with nine of them formed by Radio Upper West in Wa.

The clubs would encourage group listening and increase knowledge sharing among smallholder farmers especially among the women groups.

The ADVANCE Regional Project Coordinator thanked Radio Upper West for taking the lead role in owning and sustaining the “listenership” clubs initiative.

Mr. Abubakar Alhassan, the Upper West Regional Director of GBC, said GBC as a public broadcaster had the mandate of designing programmes to promote agriculture hence its decision to partner with the USAID ADVANCE project to carry out that mandate of educating farmers.

He said this was in recognition of the power of radio as a tool for development, adding that agriculture was a highly knowledge-intensive area requiring continued flow of information on best farming practices as well as market information.

Mr. Alhassan said Radio Upper West believed that agricultural extension was the vehicle for delivering useful information to smallholder farmers and assisting them to develop requisite knowledge, skills and attitudes to enhance their farming activities.

He said the initiative had become necessary because extension service programmes did not usually satisfy the agricultural information needs of farmers and cited lack of adequate extension workers, lack of transport, constraints in communication and lack of motivation as some of the notable challenges.

He said there would be periodic meetings between the station and the clubs to discuss and share ideas and experiences on how to improve the operations of the clubs and agriculture in their communities.

Mr. Alhassan thanked the partners and Radio panellists who have so far shared a lot of knowledge and experiences with their listeners and assured them of a good relationship between them and the station to promote agriculture in northern Ghana.

Source: GNA

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