In a move to produce high quality crops, farmers in Kenya have taken to public video screenings and are learning the farming step by step, in a move that might render extension officers jobless (if they are there at all.)
The video screenings are allowing farmers learn from an agriculture expert teaching three farmers by his side in a local language. The farmers in the crowd watch and discuss among themselves and hum in agreement. One such centre is in Kabondo, a two hour drive from Kisumu,a city in western Kenya. Most of them are sweet potato farmers and members of several different farmer groups from the area.
The video screenings take place at the Kabando Collection Centre which has computers), the projector, laptop and screen. The video screenings are an initiative of International Institute of Communication and Development IICD and Anglican Development Services-Nyanza and ICCO (Connect4Change consortium). The organisations have worked on an extensive programme to help farmers get better access to market price information and production information since 2012 and helps to improve communication with and between the farmers via video and mobile phones.
In 2012, ADS staff members were taught how to make storyboards, plan, record and edit videos and with the help of Kenyan Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) , ADS staff are using the skills to make short educational videos to instruct farmers on different techniques for production of high quality sweet potato, such early land preparation, crop planting and harvesting. After watching the videos, farmers are allowed to ask questions and discuss.
Elreco in Eldoret is another centre where IICD and ICCO are using videos to teach Irish potatoes and tomatoes farmers to up their yields. The farmers meet in schools and churches to watch the videos and discuss among themselves and their trainers. According to the non-profits behind the initiave video is gaining ground in several other farming areas. The farmers are also showing preference for video lessons than person to person, even saying they trust the video lessons than if they were to be taught normally. One member of the farmer groups, Naomi Achola, says: “Previously, they would tell us about the new techniques and I would be learning with my ears. But now, I learn with my eyes and I am sure the information will not come off my memory now”.