To the Farmer’s Best Friend
What if there were no farmers in Rwanda?
#farmersareheroes #agriculture #Rwanda
Our way of life would stop. The price of food would triple or quadruple by the next day and get really expensive after that. Then grocery stores would exhaust their stocks in a few weeks (or less) at most. The overwhelming majority of Rwanda’s population would die of starvation within a few months. Kigali would be the dead domain, with scavengers, while Rwanda’s countryside would be vacant. Well, this is coming, and we can’t afford to face this crisis. The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation affirm that an African farmer’s average age is 60, despite 70% of the African continent’s population being under 25 (Mis, 2019). This means that the 400,000 smallholder farmers responsible for Rwanda’s agricultural production (Jackson, 2018) might soon be too old to keep farming the crop. Oh! But these old farmers have kids, and since Rwandan farming is considered to be an estate passed down by inheritance and the livelihoods of about 90 percent of Rwandan people are inextricably linked to land (Elletson, 2018), there won’t be such a thing as farmers’ crisis. That is true, indeed! However, when these rural farmers’ children lack up-to-date knowledge and timely data and news that would empower them to deliver a maximum harvest from their farmlands, they are not only thrown into a deep hole but are also pushed to migrate to urban centers to find what to do, for them to keep going. Obviously, this has not boosted productivity instead has thrown agriculture into the old’s hands, leading us to farmers’ crisis in the future.
It is time already,
#agriculturalknowledge&information #agricultural development, Rwanda.
Rwanda’s government has made many efforts to develop a distributed family farm system into a growing economic operation and initiate advanced scientific methods to increase farmers’ production quality and quantity (Huggins, 2018). This is because the sector plays a unique role in promoting Rwanda’s socio-economic growth. Farming GDP is almost 20% allowing a large employment share of 47% (www.statistics.gov.rw, 2019). However, farmers and some research factors confirmed that Rwanda’s rich soil is nearly not meeting the agriculture outcome even if it claims to have notable growth in the sector (Yaseen et al., 2019). Farmers’ Path to agriculture Information research has demonstrated that the leading cause of increasing agricultural productivity and interest is the lack of knowledge and awareness sources in the farm range(Yaseen et al., 2019). Improving agricultural information provision in rural areas will undoubtedly show notable growth in the agriculture sector (that a thousand hill country deserves) and help farmers enhance their production and livelihood to the maximum. The provision of agricultural news is the central part of the updated farming system as well as the primary and fundamental advocate for agriculture advancement. It is time already to efficiently fill the information gap by supporting the agri-Information system in the agricultural sector. The absence of essential farming awareness and news for farmers in Rwanda has provoked them to stick to their old traditional (inherited) cultivation system and animal housekeeping methods, leading to a poor harvest and animal farm productivity (Tandi, 2018). Access to updated and timely agricultural information and knowledge for farmers is an essential ingredient that may always be an integral component to fully utilize sufficient natural resources. Simultaneously, leading the country to upgrade the standard of living, developing the state of farms in general, the regional market, and food security (Jain et al. 2019). There is a need to establish information centers in Rwanda’s rural communities to access and effectively utilize agricultural information in this digital age. However, taking into cognizance the following constraints or problems with disseminating agricultural information in Rwanda’s rural communities: farmers’ inadequate financial power in rural areas of Rwanda. Most Rwandans in rural areas are uneducated, where they can not read or record anything in any language; some live in the need for infrastructures, communications such as phones, etc. Oh, I know! A radio could actually work for them.
#radiosharingknowledge&information #agri-information system tool #farmersloveradio.
When I was on the hunt for low-cost, environmentally friendly tools that would lead to efficient and effective agri-Information systems that will provide food and animal protein and sustainably nourish natural resources’ usage, I found you. I learned that even in this internet age, you still rule the world. You are over a hundred years old, and you are still the most famous celebrity in the world, reaching billions of people every year (Hassan, 2020). You can be found almost everywhere — even in the most isolated communities of Rwanda. You spread the news in local languages that no one is left out, and you reach everyone — literate and illiterate. You are unlimited and movable; you can get to people from wherever they are, allowing them to perform multiple tasks, listening to you while working on their farm. You are affordable for listeners, immediate, capable of delivering information quickly.
What is more, you can now be connected to tools like portable radio phones. You have become a two-way interaction tool that empowers audiences to ask questions and contribute to the airwaves’ talk (Hassan, 2020). In Rwanda’s rural community, where I live, people still depend on the radio as their powerful tool for gaining information (Stiwell, Ngulube, 2020). So as farmers’ best friend, you have great power, and you know what people say, “by great power comes great responsibility.” Farmers are expected to understand, utilize agricultural changes related to their conditions. It is your responsibility ( as radio) and the ministry of agriculture ( MINAGRI) to ensure villagers and even people in towns have easy and quick access to data and news flow between the agronomic sector and farmers to enhance crop productivity and increase animal husbandry practice. Because when rural farmers lack access to information and knowledge, they are more likely to leave their farm to the city, abandoning farming to build formal life as their only way out (Bazley, 2019). Farmers are said to be rebellious to adapting new things. But, 36% of farmers located in Rwanda’s southern province who listen to the Huguka broadcasts about climate change, and agriculture-related information end up utilizing it on their farm (Munyangeri, 2019). So of all the existing channels of communication, Rwandan farmers place the radio as the most leading tool that gives reliable and trustworthy news and guidance. Therefore, with the need to move the farmers from low farm yield, animal diseases, poor quality fertilizers, bugs that damage farm soils, and move farmers from their old farming to applying the technological transformation. We need you, the radio in the farming news. Such agricultural information lacked includes the introduction of new markets, new seedlings, the introduction of new drugs and vaccines, the introduction of new irrigation methods, better practices, crop protection, and how to fight climate change, etc.
To the farmer’s best friend,
Radio, many farmers in the neighborhood tell me that you are the essential chief medium they rely on to stay up on what’s happening all around the country and the world in general. They believe in you. And today, they are calling you to help. They are asking you to link them with experts from the Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB), the Ministry of Animal Resources (MINAGRI and Agriculture), and the Rwanda Meteorology Agency (Meteo Rwanda) to look into their queries and respond to the issues they are facing. Farmers are calling you to become a key messenger for them and take critical actions to assist them in obtaining the maximum of their products. They demand you to deliver news that can help them determine their pick session of selling and buying their harvest and how to prepare for climate variations for the future benefit of shielding crops; in other words, they need a way of reacting to their issues appropriately (Ozowa, 2020). Let us make a love story (build a strong network) between farmers and radio stations that will take action and broadcast agricultural information programs in the native Kinyarwanda dialect that will be accessed in all rural communities of Rwanda and even in some towns. Farmers will undoubtedly express the enjoyment of engaging in the audiences’ programs and will exceptionally be delighted to express their views and ask their questions on the radio. The agro-information advancement for farmers’ broadcasts across the country will help the rural farmers obtain new farming news and stories to develop new farming practices. In doing so, the urbanization in rural areas will increase one time for all. And then, instead of having rural farmers migrating to urban areas, we will have urban people leaving towns for rural areas in search of a life that holds the secret of conquering.
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Elletson, G. (2018, July 25). In Rwanda, agricultural reforms boost food security and slash poverty. Christian Science Monitor. https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Progress-Watch/2018/0725/In-Rwanda-agricultural-reforms-boost-food-security-and-slash-poverty#:~:text=Rwanda
GDP National Accounts (Second Quarter 2019) | National Institute of Statistics Rwanda. (2019, September 16). Www.Statistics.Gov.Rw. https://www.statistics.gov.rw/publication/gdp-national-accounts-second-quarter-2019
Hassan. (2020, February 1). Why Radio? Farm Radio International. https://farmradio.org/why-radio/
Huggins, C. (2018, July 25). In Rwanda, agricultural reforms boost food security and slash poverty. Christian Science Monitor. https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Progress-Watch/2018/0725/In-Rwanda-agricultural-reforms-boost-food-security-and-slash-poverty#:~:text=Rwanda
Jackson. (2018, December 4). Coffee sector | Official Rwanda Export Website. https://rdb.rw/export/export/products-directory/coffee-sector/
Mis, M. (2019, August 22). FEATURE-Agriculture needs a makeover to lure young people back to farming. U.S. https://www.reuters.com/article/africa-farming-food/feature-agriculture-needs-a-makeover-to-lure-young-people-back-to-farming-idUSL8N1AR4WS
Munyengeri. (2019, September 13). Raising farmers’ awareness of climate risks and adaptation with radio broadcasts. Ccafs.Cgiar.org. https://ccafs.cgiar.org/news/raising-farmers-awareness-climate-risks-and-adaptation-radio-broadcasts
Obidike, N. A. (2011). Rural Farmers’ Problems Accessing Agricultural Information: A Case Study of Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State, Nigeria. Library Philosophy and Practice (e-Journal). https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/libphilprac/660/
Rwanda aims to collect 1M smartphones for poor families. (2020). Rwanda aims to collect 1M smartphones for poor families. Aa.com.Tr. https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/rwanda-aims-to-collect-1m-smartphones-for-poor-families/1704126#:~:text=Statistics%20from%20the%20Ministry%20of
Stiwell, Ngulube, C., Patrick. (2020, September 4). How Do Smallholder Farmers Access Information? Www.Cgap.org. https://www.cgap.org/blog/how-do-smallholder-farmers-access-information
Tandi, E. (2018, August 2). ResearchGate. ResearchGate. https://www.researchgate.net/deref/http%3A%2F%2Fwww.smallstock.info%2Fresearch%2Freports%2FR7633%2FR7633-masaka2.pdf
Yaseen, M., Xu, S., Yu, W., & Hassan, S. (2019). Farmers’ Access to Agricultural Information Sources: Evidence from Rural Pakistan. Journal of Agricultural Chemistry and Environment, 05(01), 12–19. https://doi.org/10.4236/jacen.2016.51b003