Mr Ian Pringle, the Director of Programmes, Farm Radio International Initiatives (FRI), an NGO, on Thursday unveiled a Farm Radio to expose farmers to best agronomic practices to boost productivity.
Pringle, who was speaking with agriculture stakeholders at the inauguration of FRI in Abuja, said the aim was to make radio a powerful force in the rural Africa.
He said it was also to share knowledge, amplify voices and support positive changes in the agriculture sector.
“We hope to use the medium for better planting practices, safe food storage, growing healthier and more nutritious food for the benefit of Nigerians,’’ he said.
According to him, the farm radio international will work with different radio stations in the country to support farmers and their families in getting the information they need to be more food secure.
He said the initiative would further improve nutrition and sustainably to boost food security and also increase the quality and variety of food produced and eaten by farmers.
Pringle said the radio and ICT initiatives would go a long way in addressing nutritional deficiencies through radio programmes and to encourage the consumption of nutritious indigenous foods.
He said that the essence of the radio initiative was to help farmers tackle post-harvest losses, help promote best practices and tackle myths around maternal health and nutrition.
The Founder of Women Farmers Advancement Network (WOFAN), Hajia Salamatu Garba said the advent of the project was a blessing because content would be brought in for extension workers.
Garba, who also doubles as chairperson of the Board of Trustee, FRI said the activities of farm radio were verse as the radio programmes would be able to assist farmers through extension workers or through advocacy to them.
“I am glad they are here in Nigeria; it means they will relate with the issue and provide solutions that address the problem for instance, the header farmers’ crisis.
“We can, therefore, use different means to address some of the challenges such as radio drama to create awareness for the farmers and help them with opportunity to link institutions together,’’ she said.
According to her, Farm Radio International Initiatives is already working with close to 85 radio stations in Nigeria.
“By the time we are passing information across various radio channels, it means that the whole of Nigeria will be getting the message for better productivity,’’ she said.
She said FRI content was done using various languages in Nigeria, adding that the medium would also make the farmers know their rights and understand their benefits.
Mr Benjamin Fiafor, the Country Representative of FRI said the initiative was aimed at reducing food losses in the various value chains in Nigeria.
He said that this would also promote the application of proven post-harvest management technologies and solutions by the use of ICT enabled extension.
Fiafor said the essence was to reach tens of millions of small scale farmers and rural Africans with life changing information and opportunities to have a stronger voice in their own development.
According to him, the project is collaborating with different multimedia partners to create interactive radio for better connections to markets and access technologies to fight pests store their crops and transport to the market.