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Jacques P. Eckebil
Assistant Director General, FAO
Sustainable Development Department

On behalf of my colleague, Ms. Carleen Gardner, Assistant Director General of the General Affairs and Information Department, it is a great pleasure and a most agreeable task for me to welcome you to FAO, at the opening of this Workshop on Farm Radio Broadcasting.

I would also like to convey the greetings of Mr. Jacques Diouf, Director General of FAO, who, together with Mr. Schumacher, the former U.S. Under Secretary of Agriculture, whom I would like to welcome here today, were the initiators of the idea of holding this Workshop on rural radio.

It was in March of 1999, in point of fact, on the occasion of a visit the Director General made to the United States, that he and Mr. Shumaker conceived the idea of holding a meeting with the radio broadcasters from the Northern and Southern countries, in order to be able to share ideas and experience concerning rural radio, as an important tool in the service of agricultural and rural development, for the improvement of agricultural production and productivity in developing countries.

I remember that when I took office as the head of my Department in February, 2000, this was the first important question that I had to deal with. Twelve months have passed since then, and today, I am truly pleased to see the realisation of this idea, in the form of this Workshop which has brought together more than fifty farm and rural radio broadcasters, radio communication experts, and institutions supporting the development of rural radio throughout the world, on the subject of "Information and Communication Technologies Servicing Farm Radio: New Contents, New Partnerships".

The "digital divide" that exists today between the Northern and Southern countries is a considerable source of concern for a number of governments, particularly in the South, as well as for the international agencies and organisations in different parts of the world. The Secretary General of the United Nations, in his Millenium Report, has spoken of "the extremely wide gap separating computerized countries from those which are not", and he called for measures to close this gap. A number of seminars and studies have been devoted to this problem, and the Internet has become a particularly suitable forum for the discussions concerning this question.

Inasmuch as these discussions are specifically centred on the rural milieu, and in spite of the fact that the problems of accessibility and access to information are still very present there, it would appear that the debate has become increasingly focussed on the technical contents of messages, digital or not, and their pertinence with regard to the real problems facing rural communities. In this context then, rural radio continues to be a very useful tool for communicating with the farm world, particularly if the programmes are conceived and produced in a participatory fashion with the communities themselves, taking into account their linguistic and cultural differences.

It is for all of these reasons that the First International Workshop on Farm Radio Broadcasting which we are holding here today gives us the opportunity to reflect upon the potentialities offered to rural radio by the information and communication technologies.

The other objectives of the Workshop are:

The Workshop also offers us the occasion to critically analyse the African rural radio program schedules, with regard to subjects which are considered to be of vital importance for food security in rural communities.

In addition to the participation of our colleagues from the Extension, Education and Communication Service (SDRE), the important resource that FAO can offer this Workshop is access to all the agricultural information administered by its World Agricultural Information Centre (WAICENT). In addition to global information on agriculture and agro-meteorological conditions, WAICENT provides specialised information on important subjects such as food security, early warning systems, post-harvest operations, food norms, genetic resources, gender and sustainable development, and market information, to mention only a few.

I believe that you would like to obtain the following results as soon as possible following the end of the Workshop:

This Workshop could not have been held without the financial support of a number of different institutions, and in particular, CTA, IDRC and the Ford Foundation. On behalf of all the Workshop participants present here, I would like to thank the representatives of these three institutions. I would sincerely hope, in addition, that this will be the beginning of a fruitful and continuing collaboration with FAO for reinforcing rural radio as a highly useful tool in the service of food security.

In declaring open this First International Rural Radio Workshop organised in Rome, I would like to wish you full success in the work you will be doing, and to thank you for your courteous attention.



Position and Details



Head, Rural Broadcasts Department, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation PO Box 1633, Accra. Email : c/o FAOR/Ghana



Professor of Agricultural Economics and Policy
Department of Agroforestry Economics and Rural Environment, Tuscia University, Via SC de Lellis, snc 0100 Viterbo Italy



Executive Director, Institute for Media and Society
1a Akin Osiyemi Street, Off Allen Avenue, Box 16181,Ikeja, Lagos Nigeria.



Journalist, Head of the Rural Radio Department, ORTB
Tel: 229 94 29 67. Email



Executive director, Developing Countries Farm Radio Network
Toronto Canada M4G 1C9. Tel: 416.971.6333 ext29



Acting Head, Sidama Educational Radio
Sidama Yirgalam. Tel: 06-250601. Fax: 06-201607



Head - Farm and Environment Radio Uganda
POBox 2038 - Kampala. Tel: 00256 4134741



Director General, ACMAD
2, avenue des Ministères, BP 13184 Niamey
Tel: 227 73 49 92 ou 227 72 31 60. Fax: 227.7236.27





Funder/President, Southeast AgNet Radio Network
PO Box 130 Kenansville, Florida 34739

United States


Senior Radio Reporter/ Producer, USDA Radio
Room 1614, South Ag.Building, 14th Independence Avenue, SW Washington DC 20250.

United States

DA MATHA Jacques Philippe

CIERRO. Tel: 226 30 6686
Email :

Burkina Faso


Delft University of Technology
Kloksteeg 17b, 2611 BL Delft, Netherlands
Tel : 0031.15 2788548. Fax: 0031.15.2787925 or



Researcher, International Service for Natural Agricultural Research (ISNAR), Laan van Nieuw Oost Indie, 2593 BM, The Hague.



Presenter/Producer, Farming Today, BBC Radio Four
26 Jessopp Road, Norwich, Norfolk NR23QA

United Kingdom

HUGHES Richard J.

International Affairs Advisor, USDA, FAO Liaison
Service International Cooperation and Development Room 3015 South Ag.Building, 14th Independence Avenue, SW Washington DC 20250. Tel: 202-690-0865. Fax: 202 690-1841

United States


UNESCO - Communication Division
1, rue Miollis, Paris 75015
Tel: 33 1 45684041. Fax: 33 1 45685585



Director, Union de l'audiovisuel libre du Burkina 04-BP-8050 Ouagadougou
Tel: 0026 435156



Director, SADC-CCD. PO Box 3730 Harare
Tel: 00263-4-722723/ 722734. Fax: 00263-4-722713-795345


KEITA Moussa

Secretary General, Union des Radios Télévisions Libres du Mali (URTEL), BP E1584, Bamako
Tel: 00223 202747. Email :



Programme Associate
Bloc 7, Flat 8, Alimosho Street, Dolphin Estate, Ikoyi Lagos



Permanent Representative, US Mission to the United Nations, Via Sardegna, 49 - 00187 Rome



Email : Jean-Pierre.Lamonde@francophonie.Org



International Affairs Office, National Weath Service, 1325 East West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910
Tel: 301 713 1762, ext.175
Fax: 301 587 4524

United States


Chef du bureau de la coopération radiophonique/ Direction générale de la coopération internationale et du développement/ Ministère des affaires étrangères. 244, bd St Germain - 75303 Paris Cedex 07


LY Sophie K.

Secrétaire générale - AMARC - World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters ou


MADE Patricia

Director General
IPS Inter Press Service


NIANG Thiendou

CTA - Technical Center for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation (ACP-EU)
Postbus 380, 6700 AJ Wageningen
Tel: 0031 317467164
Email :



Program Officer, Media, Arts and Culture
The Ford Foundation, Office for West Africa
Aib Plaza, Level 6,Akin. Adesola Street, Victoria Island, Lagos


OUATTARA Soulaymane

Système francophone d'information JADE
Email :

Burkina Faso

PHIDO Alison Data

Project Coordinator, African Radio Drama Association 22 Adeola Hopewell Street, Victoria Island, Lagos
Tel/Fax: 00234 1 4702176/ 4705399.
Email :


PINA Jorge

IPS Correspondent in Italy
Via Panisperna 207, 00184 Rome
Tel 06 4827112
Fax 06 4817877



Deputy Executive Director, Radio Ada (Ghana Community Broadcasting Services)
PO Box KA 9482,Accra,
Tel: 00233 21 500907 or 233-21-500032
Fax: 00233-21-500032
Email :



Secrétaire général du réseau des radios rurales de Madagascar, IREDEC, BP 188 Antsarabe
Tél/Fax: 00261 20448764



Coordonnateur projet GCP/MLI/020/NET
Tel: 00223 210510
Email : c/o FAOR



Former Under Secretary for Agriculture



Director, Institut Panos Afrique de l'Ouest (IPAO)
6, rue du Dr Calmette
BP 21132 - Dakar-Ponty, Sénégal
Tel: 221-822 1666 ou 8220084.
Fax: 221 8221761 IPAO (Sénégal)
Email : ou


SIBANDA Jennifer

Regional Director - FAMW-SADC
PO Box BE 793, Belvedere, Harare OR,
Tel: 263-4-753076
Fax: 263-4-753269
Email :



President, Ag Radio Network Inc
PO Box 437 Utica, NY 13503
Email :

United States


Economist, USAID

United States

STONE Mosotho

Radio producer., National Community Radio Forum
No. 1, Leyds Street, First Floor, Cosatu House, Braamfontein, 2017 South Africa
Email :
Tel: 0027-11-403-3436

South Africa


General Manager, Farm Director Brownfield Network, 505 Hobbs Rd, Jefferson City, MO 65109

United States

FAO Representatives

FAO, Via delle Terme di Caracalla 00100 Rome
Tel: +39 06 57051. Internet:


ILBOUDO Jean-Pierre
ROUAH Carine

Extension, Education and Communication Service (SDRE)


COWAN SharonLee

Information Division (GII)



Environment and Natural Resources Service (SDRN)


MAZAUD François

Agro-Industries and Post-Harvest Management Service (AGSI)



Food Security and Agricultural Projects Analysis Service (ESAF)


ACHIA Remigio

World Agricultural Information Centre (WAICENT)



Marketing and Rural Finance Service (AGSM)


JOST Stéphane

Global Information and Early Warning Service (ESCG)



The First International Workshop on Farm Radio Broadcasting, organised by the Extension, Education and Communication Service (SDRE), was held from the 19th to the 22nd of February, 2001, at FAO Headquarters in Rome (Italy).

The title of the workshop was "Information and Communication Technologies Servicing Farm Radio: New Contents, New Partnerships".

The Workshop was attended by more than forty participants representing unions, federations, African, European and North American farm radio networks, institutions supporting farm radio, and communication experts as well as persons from other FAO technical services.

The participants in this first Workshop organised in Rome, came from the following countries: Ghana, Ethiopia, Benin, Canada, Uganda, Niger, Nigeria, United States, Burkina Faso, the Netherlands, France, Zimbabwe, Mali, Madagascar and South Africa.

The Workshop participants were welcomed during the official opening ceremony held on Monday, 19 February 2001, presided over by Mr. Jacques Eckebil, Assistant Director-General of the Sustainable Development Department.

Mr. Gus Schumacher, former U. S. Under Secretary of Agriculture, who, in conjunction with the FAO Director General, was one of the initiators of the idea of holding this Workshop, was also present at the official opening ceremony.

Following the opening ceremony, the Workshop began with a series of plenary sessions, which allowed the participants to hear more than thirty papers and technical presentations dealing with the new information and communication technologies and their significance for farm radio, the training of farm radio producers, audience research, as well as with the links between research, extension, and farm radio.

The institutions supporting farm radio included:

USAID, USDA, AMARC, ACMAD, UNESCO, the Ford Foundation, the Federation of African Media Women, the Nigerian Institute for Media and Society, the PANOS Institute, CTA, URTEL, the Intergovernmental Agency of French-Speaking Countries, CIERRO/URTNA, the Developing Countries Farm Radio Network, ISNAR, BBC, the SADC Communication Centre for Development, SYFIA/JADE, the Ghana Community Broadcasting Service, the Madagascar Farm Radio Network, the African Radio Drama Association.

They presented their organizations, and described their views with regard to the theme of the Workshop.

The Workshop enabled the participants to familiarise themselves with the activities of a number of FAO technical divisions which are depositories of scientific and technical information concerning food security, global information, early warning system, post-harvest operations, agro-meteorology and market prices.

Thursday, the 22nd of February was devoted to Working Groups. Three Working Groups were created.

At the end of their work, the reporters for the different groups presented an accounting to the Workshop of the conclusions, recommendations, dialogue and exchanges of views formulated by the groups:

Working Group I, on the subject of networking, recommended:

  1. That a network be created to improve the flow of information relevant to rural areas, using the existing networks
  2. That FAO use radio to more effectively communicate on agricultural issues
  3. That FAO and other interested parties complement each other through the implementation of such a network
  4. That a World Radio Day for Development be instituted.

Working Group II made the following recommendations:

  1. Recognising the fact that local information has existed, exists and will exist, there is, nevertheless, important technical information available at FAO (via WAICENT and the technical divisions), as well as at other agencies such as ACMAD and CGIAR. In this regard:
  2. The priority information needed is as follows:
    1. Market and weather information
    2. Inputs for agriculture, e.g., pest and disease control
    3. Local agricultural and environmental practices.
    This type of information cannot necessarily be found in global databases.
    It must be researched, rather than broadcasted in the field.
  3. Suggested Actions:
    1. Build national capacity (country-level teams of technical and communication specialists) in order to:
      1. Make contact with local levels, to collect and interpret needs
      2. Interpret and package technical information for radio
      3. Distribute it via World Space, e-mail or bus
      4. Build district capacity and partnerships.
    2. Local Radio Stations
      • These can act as information centres, and solve problems in local languages and contexts.
      • They should include knowledgeable community members.
    3. Create a database of frequently asked questions:
      • From questions asked at the local level, and collected and answered at the national level
      • That is constantly updated, and can serve as a living record.
    4. Create a Global Help-Desk for Rural Radio:
      • That will include key technical information, a tool-kit for rural radio as well as a map of partnerships and countries / districts with rural radio;
      • FAO headquarters will lead with inputs from all partners.

Working Group III concluded as follows :

These projects could include training, equipment, scholarships and exchanges.

Proposals for funds must be precise, with clearly defined objectives.

Furthermore, the Workshop strongly recommends that the subject of rural radio for development be included in all of the different FAO technical committee documents, namely, those produced by the Agricultural Committee, the Food Security Committee, etc.

Finally, the Workshop recommends that FAO, in association with its partners, create a follow-up committee to carry out the all of the recommendations that have been made by the Workshop.

The different papers that have been presented during the course of the Workshop, as well as the discussions and debates that have taken place, will be included in subsequent publications, which will be sent to all the Workshop participants.

Rome, 22 February 2001
The Workshop


We, the participants at the First International Workshop on Rural Radio, held in Rome from the 19th to the 22nd of February, 2001 on the subject : "The New Information and Communication Technologies Servicing Rural Radio", would like to thank and congratulate FAO for its superb initiative, on the one hand, and for the perfect organisation of the Workshop, on the other.

We would also like to thank all of the persons and organisations thanks to whose efforts this Workshop could be held, namely, the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) of the Netherlands, the Ford Foundation, and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

We would like, in particular, to offer our very special thanks to the Honourable George McGovern, U.S. Ambassador to FAO, and to all the personnel of the Embassy for the reception which Ambassador McGovern offered to the participants of the Workshop at his residence.

Rome, 22 February 2001
The Workshop


Ms. Carleen Gardner
Assistant Director General, FAO
General Affairs and Information Department

Well, well, well - these are exciting times. Who among us would have thought, five years ago, that we would be here today, talking about the power of radio?!

Sometimes looked down upon as the "poor relation" of television, and certainly considered old-fashioned compared to the Internet, radio today has become the one to watch.

Now that may sound like a bad pun, but as our discussions here this week have proved, radio's stock is rising like never before. Still the most portable communication medium, the most widespread and the most economical, radio is now proving itself versatile enough to go hand-in-hand with the Web.

The purpose of this workshop has been to look at the new information and communication technologies and the impact they are having on rural radio broadcasters. Through listening to your discussions, I have learned that Information and Communication Technologies are presenting broadcasters not only with challenges, but also with some fine new opportunities.

I must say it has been tremendous to watch and listen as radio folk from such vastly different parts of the world have sat down, rolled up your sleeves, traded tips and developed ideas for working together in the future.

Here at FAO we organize and participate in a lot of workshops, meetings and conferences. But this workshop has been unusual in one way. The thing I've enjoyed the most is seeing how the working journalists among you just keep on working, no matter what. Here you are, far from home, on a five-day trip to Italy for a United Nations workshop. Anyone would have expected you to relax, do a bit of networking, get involved in the discussions, and simply enjoy the occasion.

But no, many of you have used the FAO radio studio and press room all week long.

Knowing what busy people you are, I want especially to thank each of you. Thank you for making time in your schedules for this very unusual meeting of minds. Thank you for your energetic participation in the working group discussions. Thank you for the careful thought and preparation you put into your statements to the workshop. And thank you for your willingness to share with, and learn from, your fellow radio people from around the world. Thank you for reporting to your listeners this week on the workshop's proceedings.

A very important thank you goes to the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), to the Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Development (CTA), and to the Ford Foundation for West Africa for their generous financial support, which made it possible for us to bring you all together. Some of you even travelled here at your own expense, and that has allowed us to stretch our sponsors' funds even further.

We are hopeful that some of the ideas generated in this Workshop will continue to develop and take shape, and that some of the "loose ends" will be knit into lasting collaboration between some of the different broadcasters and organizations represented here today.

The homework that lies ahead is huge and motivating. You'll have to find solutions to the questions that you have raised:

Sorry, I have no answers but let's try and make this world a truly global village.

I sincerely hope, too, that in the future each of you will turn to FAO as a rich source of news and data on food security, agriculture, sustainable rural development, forestry and fisheries. I hope that you find in FAO a facilitator in building up the local capacity to treat the massive and technical information that the small farmer strongly needs. For those of you who are working broadcasters, I'm sure you'll be keeping in touch through the FAO radio studio, and with colleagues in our media relations unit.

And so, every good wish to all of you. Thank you for making this a very special week. As you travel home, go back to your regular work, and begin to make the most of the radio's new opportunities, I for one will certainly stay tuned!

Thank you.

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