FAO adopts radio to reach smallholder dairy producers in Kenya
Over the past few years, FAO has successfully piloted the use of radio to train smallholder dairy producers in Kenya through a program called “Maziwa ni Mali”.
The pilot program was carried out in 14 districts in the former Rift Valley Province as a result of a study that targeted dairy farmers, the results of which indicated that over 70% of farmers did not have adequate extension in dairy production. A radio based training was designed to address this and over 6,000 farmers registered for the pilot program while over 1.2 million others followed the interactive one hour weekly sessions. The success of the pilot led to an upscale in 10 more districts where over 10,000 farmers registered and many more followed the radio program.
The evaluation of the project’s impact concluded that radio based training programs are a useful tool and that the content is educative and applicable besides being a very accessible media for smallholders. Most farmers made use of the lessons learned to improve their dairy production.
An interesting aspect of the radio program was the involvement of the East African Agricultural Productivity Programme (EAAP) that supported five districts thus creating much needed synergy between programs. The European Union was responsible for funding the program. The Dairy Training Institute, the smallholder dairy farmers who are reaping the benefits of the program and the government field officers were also responsible for its success.
A final workshop to aimed present certificates and prizes to farmers who consistently followed the radio program was held on 16 May 2013.
Speaking at the workshop, Dan Rugabira, FAO Representative in Kenya advised the farmers to continue applying thee good practices they had learnt and to ensure that they effectively utilize the good relationships they had established with the government officers that were supporting the program. “I would like to express my appreciation to the farmers that followed the program in such a dedicated manner, said Mr. Rugabira.
Attending were Dominique Davoux, head of EU delegation in Kenya, Dr. Julius Kiptarus, Director of Livestock Production, a representative of the Uasin Gishu county, and farmers from the ten participating districts.