Transformative Power of Innovative ICTs in Media for Agriculture

Organised by: CTA

Mass media are powerful tools that help address some fundamental challenges of contemporary agriculture. The tremendous development of ICTs has been radically transforming the ACP mass media landscape. Not only mainstream media are affected in their strategies and operations, but community media finds a renewed potential to continue developing; new media (including social media) and new forms of journalism (citizen journalism) have emerged and are thriving. This session will showcase how CAADP Journalists Network has been using ICTs, including Google and Google products get improved insights into, and cover, agricultural issues.

Through a case study from Uganda, participants will appreciate how a multimedia centre links to community radio and mobile phone better to inform farmers and allow them to share best practices at a much larger scale. The vital importance of regular and proper ICT-based media monitoring is highlighted in a contribution from the Caribbean. They allow for easier, instantaneous and more cost-effective access to of newspaper and media monitoring.

Finally, a Southern African case demonstrates how mass media use ICTs to contribute to more effective climate change adaptation policies and practices regarding land use planning and risk management.

Nov 7, 10:30 - 12:00
Room: Mugesera
Stream: Emerging Innovations


New media tools of the CAADP Journalists’ Network

Introduction to the technical functions of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) Journalists Network. CAADP is Africa owned and led initiative working to boost agriculture in Africa. The network was lunched in April at the CAADPPP in Addis Ababa. It is a network of African Journalists who report on agriculture. This presentation will share the technical functions of the network and new tools the network hopes to embracce. The network members have been introduced to Web2.0 applications, social media tools ( FB, Twitter and Linkedin) and  data, Audio/Video, Photos platforms. The English and French speaking Journalists have been supported by CTA, FAO and UNITAR to take part in elearning course on Web 2.0. Google products  The network members already use google alert. This has helped network members to learn more on what is happening on agriculture in Africa. With agrociculture as one of their alerts, the Journalists have been able to have an understanding on what CAADP is all about. The network members have so far been using google groups and many have a gmail account. The presentation will also share how the network members are using/hope to use google products such as google docs, google alerts, google maps, google as a search engine, google groups and google hang outs    Open Source (Ushahidi) With mobile phone in the hands of the farmers now, it is important that the network hopes to use crowdsourcing at national and sub national levels eg    Web gathering platforms : Web Gathering platform a meeting or conference held in a virtual space on the internet..The CAADP network is looking foward to open source web gathering platforms. Tweet Ups :We have been hosting Tweet Ups on agriculture. Tweet Ups are important as they help other people become eduated on a particular subject or theme.     Blogs : Network members have been blogging on different platforms  Skype: Easy tool for use at a cheaper rate. Used for communication by members in real time. All members report on skype at different time zones.    Online Newsletter: It is an important feature of the network. This helps in the content creation and distribution.    Online Mapping tools: So far we have been using Scoop it and Google alerts. We welcome different GIS   maps so we could report, analyse and communicate. The network hopes to translate GIS agriculture maps and write stories to interpreste the information on different maps.    Mobile News (SMS) : it would be nice to create or use existing mobile news out lets to publish the agriculture story. Most mobile news platforms are local and not regional.    elearning: Network members were introduced to iMark Web 2.0 . We also asked CTA for the support to the UNITAR/FAO/CTA e-Learning Course on “Web 2.0 and Social Media for Development”   Coverage of agriculture events : So far the CAADP Journalists Network members have covered non state actors meetings in Uganda and Tanzania, the CAADPPP in addis ababa and the Comesa, AU and FAO meeting in Lusaka. in coverage the network members publish in stories in traditional and new media platforms.


Brenda Nglazi Zulu

Director, Africa Interactive Media

The role of CMC in transforming rural agriculture development in SSA: a case study of Nakaseke CMC - Uganda

Nakaseke CMC is among the six (6) piloted Community Multimedia Centers by UNESCO in Uganda. The Center is located 75km from the capital City Kampala, Uganda. The centre servers a total 45,000 people who are predominately substance farmers, growing mainly coffee, maize and cattle keeping among others. The Center offers a couple of services which include; computer training, Library,  a Radio, a Mobile SMS service  and a community Internet wireless  Network  which connects 7 other institutions in the areas. The integration of a Community Radio and Mobile phoneSMS application in the Centre has led to an increase of agricultural information access to farmers.  The center has employed a farmer radio recording program to captures farmer’s based practices and share them over her own community Radio (102.9fm)  using the skills acquired  from Farm Radio International  e-learning programs. Taking out the radio to farmers has contributed to the improvement of traditional farming practices to better methods of farming.    Of recent, Nakaseke CMC deployed a new project called Mfarmer SMS Service to communicate to farmers about Agricultural market price changes. The technology encourages an interactive two way feedback communication between farmers, Buyers/Agro-processors and extension service providers.   FrontlineSMS is a new innovation technology which is free and open source application used to manage, send and receive SMS. The project is designed to help farmers to access agricultural Market price information, and weather forecast through their mobile phones.  


Peter Balaba

Program Manager, Nakaseke Community Multimedia Centre (CMC)

How the media can assist in communicating ICTs for climate-smart agriculture

Climate-smart agriculture seeks to increase productivity while reducing contributions to climate change. Success is essential in order to provide enough food for the world’s population and to mitigate environmental damage. A closer look at how the media can communicate  information and communication technologies (ICT) to support sustainable and climate-smart agriculture. ICT holds real promise in two particular areas: as tools for land use planning and management; and, as risk management tools for climate change adaptation. This will be the focus of the two week online discussion.  As the media how best can we communicate this to the ordianry farmer and person. How can we use social media, the mobile phones, electronic and print media in communicating ICTs in CSA.  Through the communication of ICT in CSA the media will be ensuring that food security amidst a changing climate is at the top of developing countries agendas. But most importantly and palpably, is a matter of survival for the millions of farmers, fishers, herders and foresters whose livelihoods are highly vulnerable to the occurrence of extreme events, changing temperatures and unpredictable seasonality, among other stressors.


Fidelis Zvomuya

Journalist, Agriconnect Communication Media

The relevance of ICT-based media monitoring in the Caribbean for the reshaping of information on agriculture

ICTs are critical to the monitoring of how media portrays agriculture and its role in agricultural development. Media monitoring is the observation and analysis of facts and trends of media coverage of specific topics.  It identifies short-comings and inaccuracies, thus allowing for rectifications in a timely and cost-effective manner. For example, using media monitoring in advocacy campaign for policy reform could reshape policy through better informed public and the feedback it provides. The media landscape has radically been transformed through technology. There are free online search engines to monitor newspapers and other news sources. Google and Yahoo alerts   and social media provide automatic delivery of monitoring. In the early 1990s a designated person would cut clippings from newspapers and archive them. Today, innovative applications allow for easy and instantaneous access to online monitoring. Media monitoring provides valuable service which is less visible than reporting in media. Typically, mass communications practitioners - not journalists, undertake media monitoring to develop strategies for organisations’ communications. Media is monitored before, during and after the Caribbean Week of Agriculture, the main multi-stakeholders policy dialogue platform in the Region. The media monitoring assesses whether or not the regional media reports on specific issues deemed important by stakeholders and policy-makers. If yes, the question is ‘Does the media report carry sufficient, balanced and accurate information? ’. If not, action is taken to attract media attention and provide them with content.   Through a media monitoring done by the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute it was found that food security and climate change were number one and two in media coverage, while other key agricultural topics such as water management did not appear high on media agenda. The media monitoring is only useful if its findings are used, lessons are drawn and improvements are made. One main reason why the full potential of media monitoring is not being used in agricultural organisations is the insufficient understanding by managers, of its role in effective communication with the public. Similarly, there is limited number of trained people in media monitoring at the agricultural institutions. Connectivity is another constraint in many parts of the region.


Adelle Roopchand

Independent Communications Media and PR Consultant