AFRICAN ETHICAL AGRIBUSINESS: KNOWLEDGE & NETWORKING EMPOWERMENT
Gikanda coffee cooperative, Rumukia coffee cooperative, Nyeri Technical Training Institute (NTTI), Kenya Coffee Research Foundation (CRF), Dormans Coffee
500,000 smallholder coffee farmers
‘Dhahabu Ya Murimi’ or ‘Farmers Gold’, broadcast on KBC Coro FM 99.5
In 2011 LYF launched its first ever radio show, targeted at coffee farmers in Kenya. Named ‘Farmers Gold’, the weekly 15-minute programme broadcast on KBC’s Coro FM initially focussed on issues relating to coffee agronomy and marketing – but later in response to listener feedback expanded its scope to include topics such as climate change, gender and HIV. LYF worked with NTTI, CRF and Dormans to create six smallholder training modules, which were used to guide recorded interviews with successful farmers already implementing recommended practices on their farms. An embedded SMS facility allowed listeners to send in their individual questions, which were answered live on air by the radio presenter, also an agricultural extension expert.
As a result of the programmes, 705 farmers joined local co-operatives for the first time (50% of them women) and 70,000 new disease-resistant coffee trees were planted. The radio programmes increased transparency in the coffee supply chain and enabled Kenyan farmers to make better agribusiness decisions, which improved their families’ income.
James Minai of the Kenyan Coffee Research Foundation commented on the programmes’ value:
“Previously we used field days and open days to disseminate information. But the beauty of radio is that it is much less expensive. There are some 500 co-operative societies here, however we can only… cover 26 co-ops with our own extension staff this year! The radio programmes have really helped us to reduce confusion, and give the proper advice on coffee varieties, the buyers and pass on technical know-how.”