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  • Hannah Clark

Farmers' Voice Radio Academy Small Grant Winner: Union KC x Beyond Beans


Nomessi cocoa cooperative. Togo. Photo credit: Union KC x Beyond Beans


The winner of the 2023 Farmers’ Voice Radio Academy small grants competition is Union Kloto-Centre (KC) and Beyond Beans in Togo. The team at Union KC and Beyond Beans designed a radio programme concept that will empower the farmer members of the 65 coffee and cocoa cooperatives in Kpalimé, in the Plateaux region of Togo. 


Union KC is a cooperative union that has the objective of promoting the cultivation and marketing of coffee and cocoa by its 65 member cooperatives and Beyond Beans is a foundation dedicated to developing and implementing sustainability projects across cocoa, coffee and cashew supply chains. Union KC and Beyond Beans work together in Togo to improve the livelihoods of coffee and cocoa farmers; prevent child labour, empower women in production and increase income diversification. The Farmers’ Voice Radio programme they are producing is called ‘Vaséda’, which means, ‘come and listen’ in Ewe, the local language. ‘Vaséda’ will be broadcast on the popular local community radio station Planète Plus.  Radio listening is very common in Togo and people listen on their radios and cell phones (without network connection) at home or in groups under the palaver trees (gathering place).

 

The radio programmes will be presented by a Programme Reference Group of eight farmers (including three women), with support from Union KC and Beyond Beans, local experts and supply chain bodies. The radio programmes will tackle four key themes:

1-      Good Agricultural Practices

2-      Gender Equality

3-      Climate Change

4-      Protection of children


‘Vaséda’ will be a space for the farmers to discuss the above topics, share relevant and appropriate information, talk about their experiences and connect with other farmers. The team will also use the radio programmes to discuss and promote the activities of Union KC and Beyond Beans, to encourage more participation.  The functioning of the Union and the Cooperatives will also be discussed in the broadcasts, so that any farmers wishing to join a cooperative can find out how to do so.


Célia Vidal, Sustainability Project Manager for Beyond Beans in Togo, was the representative who joined the Farmers' Voice Radio Academy training programme and she believes the radio programmes will be a good place for the Union to get important messages and information across during their campaigns.


Collective listening sessions will also be organised in the communities around Kpalimé to allow listeners to discuss the radio programme content and feedback from the live listening.


The team hope that the radio programme will allow everyone to find answers, have space and freedom to express themselves and access all the necessary information for better cocoa and coffee production and a better yield of quality coffee and cocoa. The changes that the team would like to see amongst the farmers they work with are the following:

1. Increased knowledge and practice of good agricultural practices

2. Women's groups are more autonomous and diversify their income-generating activities

3. Increased knowledge and practice of how to adapt to climate change

4. Better understanding of the importance of education and increased attendance at school.


 ‘Vaséda’ will bring together more farmers and create links between the different cooperatives and the different production areas. The radio programmes will also complement the existing work of the team which organises farmer field schools and provides support and monitoring for the improvement of plantations.


Célia informs us that the farmers are very excited to be part of the committee and to be able to contribute and pass on their knowledge! We are also really excited to be supporting our first Farmers’ Voice Radio programme series in Togo.


We wish the farmers and team at Union Kloto-Centre and Beyond Beans all the best and can’t wait to hear the first radio programme!


Union KC and Beyond Beans steering committee meeting, Togo. Photo credit: Union KC x Beyond Beans


Novilolo coffee nursery, Togo. Photo credit: Union KC x Beyond Beans


Good agricultural practices training at a coffee plantation, Togo. Photo credit: Union KC x Beyond Beans

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