TOPICS

Crops, Climate and Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture, Institutions and Orgs, Land, Livestock and Rangeland, Nutrition, Water, Youth

SOLUTION TYPE

Innovation (technical or institutional), Knowledge Exchange, Technology

REGION

Global or multi-regional initiative

"The videos save me time because they are comprehensive and are more tailored toward the needs of farmers in our part of the world. Hence there is no need for me to go searching online on different sites to see which of them meets my needs. So whenever I am looking for a "how to...." in agriculture that pertains to Africa, I search through your database first before looking elsewhere.” 

Collins Afeti Gadawusu, farmer in Ghana

BACKGROUND

Smallholder farmers, youth and rural entrepreneurs have limited access to critical knowledge for generating income within sustainable food systems. Making quality training videos available in international and local languages through multiple methods and innovative ICT tools means that anyone can access relevant knowledge.

WHAT’S INVOLVED

Content creation: Local organizations are trained and backstopped to produce quality farmer training videos, thereby expanding a library of regionally relevant, locally appropriate videos.

Videos in local languages: Local media professionals are trained to translate videos into any language upon demand, thus supporting South-South learning.

Innovative ICT tools: Public and private sector actors, including farmers, can use various tools to access the video library, online or off-line.

 

EXPLORE THIS SOLUTION

The Access Agriculture video approach offers:

  • A wealth of freely downloadable, quality training videos on ecological farming and food processing in international and local languages;
  • Multiple ICT tools, including a mobile App and solar-powered smart projector to screen videos offline;
  • A rich network of scaling partners and delivery channels, including mass media, digtial service providers and a model to engage youth as e-entrepreneurs in last-mile delivery to contribute to sustainable food systems.

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Countries involved

Argentina, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Laos, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Uganda, Uruguay, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zambia, and Zimbabwe

Project partners

African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS), Bibliothèques sans Frontières, Biovision Africa Trust, Bluetown,Catholic Relief Services, Centre for Development Research - BOKU,Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific (CIRDAP), Inter-American Commission for Organic Agriculture (CIAO), DanChurchAid (DCA), Eastern & Southern Africa small-scale Farmers Forum (ESAFF), Latin American and Caribbean Network of Fair Trade producers and workers (CLAC Fairtrade), Farm Concern International (FCI), International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA),

Project dates

2012 – current

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Summary 

Farmers across the Global South can learn from agroecological solutions presented by their peers via Access Agriculture’s online video platform. While thousands of organizations and rural service providers have freely downloaded and shared these videos from Africa, Asia and Latin America, farmers have become the largest occupational group signing up for Access Agriculture. At least sixty million farmers have seen Access Agriculture videos. 

Challenge/Problem 

Worldwide, very few smallholder farmers ever see an extension agent, and women have the fewest opportunities to access innovative and up-to-date agricultural knowledge. National economies have made farmers increasingly dependent on agrochemical dealers for information. Limited support for peer-to-peer learning about agroecology has thus led to a loss of local crop varieties and animal breeds, soil degradation and biodiversity loss, which in turn erode smallholder productivity.

Solution 

Access Agriculture has trained governmental organizations, NGOs and farmers’ associations to make educational videos with smallholders, including women, who describe and demonstrate technical, methodological and social innovations. All of these high-quality videos merge local and scientific knowledge. All are in multiple languages, including English and local tongues. Access Agriculture has over 220 training videos in over 80 languages.

Public extension agents download the videos to share with farmers. With the support of local governments to translate the videos, agents have reached rural communities across their countries.

When Access Agriculture started in 2012, extension agents in developing countries had better Internet access than farmers did. Access Agriculture designed a platform where these agents could download videos to screen to entire villages. That model worked, but the solution became even more effective with the increased penetration of smartphones in rural communities. Farmers are now able to access the platform and choose the videos that best address their individual needs. Many universities also teach with Access Agriculture videos, ensuring that the next generation of extension agents will understand the power of cross-cultural videos.

In Benin, Gérard Zoundji, then a PhD student, distributed Access Agriculture videos on DVD, selling some and giving others away. The farmers appreciated the videos and shared them with others. From what they learned, farmers built drip irrigation systems with locally available materials. Vegetable growers who watched the videos reduced their use of pesticides. “Before the video training, I used to manage nematodes, pests and other diseases by using any agrochemicals I could get hold of. I just needed to see insects and pests in the field to unleash a treatment,” explained Aristide, a smallholder farmer from Abomey-Calavi in Benin. “But after watching the video, I realized how wasteful and harmful I have been.” Read more in Pay and learn

Results 

Over 500,000 people have visited www.accessagriculture.org. In a 2018 online survey of 2,223 respondents from 115 countries, 55 per cent said they used the videos to train farmers. Nearly 60 per cent said they shared the videos with other organizations. From 2013 to 2018, over 3 million farmers watched Access Agriculture videos at screenings or by themselves. Worldwide, 44 television stations have broadcast videos to over 60 million more.

In Benin, 86 per cent of farmers who watched the videos reduced their pesticide use on vegetables. 

In Malawi, DJs (youth who sell movies on phones) distributed farmer-learning videos to 2,100 people, reaching an audience of 21,000. 

Using video training, a Ugandan company enrolled more than 80,000 farmers in organic chilli and sesame production. 

In Bangladesh, over 410,000 farmers saw village screenings on conservation agriculture. Millions more saw the videos on television in Bangladesh and India. By 2015, 41,000 farmers adopted the reduced tillage techniques. 

In Bangladesh, women who watched videos on rice seed and crop management harvested 15 per cent more rice. Over 20 per cent attained rice self-sufficiency. 

Videos on rice parboiling were more than three times as effective than workshops at encouraging Beninese women improve their parboiling methods. 

Lessons Learned/Potential for replication 

Farmers can find and download videos on their own. They report producing higher yields and achieving better pest control without the use of agrochemicals. Many described starting new enterprises based on the videos.

It is not necessary to make videos in each country. Translating videos is cheaper than making videos, and smallholders prefer watching farmers in other countries. They identify with the farmers in the video, and call them “friends,” saying for example that they can tell they are real farmers by “the mud on their legs.”

Videos can share information across the Global South as long as farmers understand the language. Translating videos into global and local languages is crucial.

When farmers have access to a video, on a DVD or on their phone, they watch it several times to study the content and apply the ideas creatively, through their own experiments. 

Next Steps 

Access Agriculture is expanding its services and information and communication technologies (ICTs) to generate recurring revenues that can sustain its public service. Through private and public sponsors, it aims to expand its library of training videos in international and local languages. 

Access Agriculture’s video platform features interfaces in English, French, Spanish, Bangla and Hindi. Support is sought to create Portuguese and Arabic versions to further enable South-South knowledge exchange. 

Access Agriculture’s Young Entrepreneur Challenge Fund (YECF) seeks sponsors through which the organization can identify, equip, train and coach young people to start businesses around making videos available to rural communities. 

Solution Image

Open air video screening in Mali

Image Author:Paul Van Mele

Training local partners in producing quality training videos for farmers

Image Author:Paul Van Mele

Solar-powered smart projector to screen Access Agriculture videos offline

Image Author:Steven Janssens

Solution Additional Resources

Access Agriculture

Last update: 22/03/2021