Family farming policies and programmes, including Rural communication services (RCS), are vital in strengthening the participatory communication capacities among farmer organizations and rural institutions and giving family farmers the capacity needed for sustainability. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in collaboration with YenKasa Africa held a regional forum on Rural Communication Services for family farming in Africa on 30th June 2022. The UN Decade for Family Farming (UNDFF) called for Rural Communication Services (RCS) to be part of family farming policies and programmes and to be delivered sustainably.
As part of the UNDFF, YenKasa Africa implements a Participatory Communication Plan (PCP) along the following lines of work: Awareness raising on participatory communication and related outreach; enhancing farmers’ organizations’ communication capacities and promoting Rural Communication Services. This regional forum was held in fulfilment of these lines of work.
The forum participants spanned various organisations, community media, communication practitioners, rural institutions, and development agencies across Africa. The forum aimed to engage key stakeholders in discussing trends, experiences and appropriation of media and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for family farming. It also intended to promote Rural Communication Services in the region as part of the UNDFF process. With evidence of lessons learned, conclusions and recommendations for advancing RCS in Africa, the forum shared findings of the regional study on Rural Communication Services to promote mechanisms for policy dialogue, knowledge sharing and future partnerships.
“Future projects need to invest more into Rural Communication Services and include farmers-centered behavioural change approaches to be able to exchange better with family farmers on a larger scope of topics,” said Alice Van der Elstraeten, IFAD Knowledge Management and M&E Analyst, during the panel discussion in response to ways to mainstream these services in national policies. . In response to the needs and opportunities necessary to mainstream RCS for family farming, including, fisheries, forestry and pastoralism, in policies and programmes, Omar Diaw, from the Association of Fishing Communicators of Community and Generalist Radios (ACPRCG), mentioned that community radios that do not pay the presenters, really need to be trained so that they can properly access the right information. “To embed rural communication services in policies, it is important to integrate them in the National Agriculture Development Plans and rural policies to give voices to the family farmers” stated Peter Anaadumba, from FAO Regional Office for Africa.
The forum concluded with great support from the present organizations and institutions to advance rural communication services across the continent. As part of this initiative, FAO and partners will develop a policy brief with the findings and engagements from the forum in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
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