A parliamentarian boosts youth engagement in agriculture through radio

A parliamentarian boosts youth engagement in agriculture through radio

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Radio Medumba is a rural radio station located in the Bangangté sub-division, Ndé division, West region of Cameroon. Created in August 2000, it has made the rural world its focus with the slogan :  ‘the station at the service of local development’. Agriculture occupies a place of choice in its grid. Since its creation, it devotes two hours a week to farm radio programs presented in French and ‘Medumba’, the local language. These programs are presented by two young state agents, graduates of a school of agriculture. They voluntarily decided to share their knowledge with the many farmers in the area.

Initially, these programs were produced only in studio but later it was decided to relocate to the farms to broadcast an edition every week. The other studio-produced edition allows listeners to share their experiences and ask questions about the practice of agriculture. This show has grown so much that a group of young graduates of higher education has created a Common Initiative Group and sought the help of the two hosts of the agricultural show for the creation and monitoring of their community field. They also sought funding because they already had 12 hectares of land that one of the members of the group acquired by inheritance and which until then was not exploited.

This is how the Honorable Ngassam Thérèse, Member of the Cameroon National Assembly and devoted listener of Radio Medumba, came to the scene. She decided to support these young people within the framework of parliamentary micro-projects. These are the funds regularly made available to MPs by the National Assembly to facilitate the realization of small projects for the well being of their communities. A meeting bringing together all stakeholders in September 2017 enriched and finalized the project with a feasibility study. They visited the field and identified the types of crops that could be profitable. The space was divided into three sections. A first section was dedicated to cocoa farming, another for plantain, and a third for maize and cassava. At each stage, developments were reported on the agric radio show.

As early as January 2018, they began to prepare the field and search for improved seeds. Before the first rains in March, the field was ready and the available seeds were placed on the ground. In July, the first maize harvests took place. These young people decided to sell these products on the local market first before expanding later on the other markets of the region and the country. Information on product availability was broadcast on the radio. Having benefited from the subsidy, the price charged was slightly lower than the prices of these same products on the local market. Informed traders often organized themselves to buy products directly in the field.

To this day, the project has really taken shape and this example is quoted in the speeches of the authorities and elites during public events. Cognizant of the fact that Radio Medumba eased the expansion of their project, these young people of GIC PROMABADA decided to make a grant to diversify and sustain the agric shows at the station.

The Common Initiative Group won the first cassava prize at the Western Regional Agro-Pastoral Show in Bafoussam. On this occasion, the MP declared that “This is the best gift the youth have given me during my mandate … I’m happy to have taken this initiative that will be remembered by many families and the people of the Nde division in general who no longer lack corn for household consumption and breeding, cassava for fufu and garri etc. and soon cocoa.”

Mrs. TCHOUNGA Ide Carine is the author of this contribution. She is the Chief of Station for Radio Medumba, a community station in the city of Bangangté in the West Region of Cameroon

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