Countdown to Launch! A New Podcast in Nigeria
Next week, smallholder farmers in northern Nigeria will have a new way to get expert agricultural advice. On Tuesday, 27 September, East-West Seed Knowledge Transfer Nigeria will launch a technical farming podcast, teaching farmers how to grow better and healthier vegetables.
Why a Podcast?
EWS-KT Nigeria runs a weekly 1-hour radio program on improved techniques in vegetable farming, broadcast on FRCN in Kaduna state and AREWA in Kano state. The program’s format is half presentation and half question-and-answer session with live callers. The radio program is very popular with farmers, but because it is only broadcast once per week at a particular time, not all farmers are able to listen.
The new podcast will use the technical farming advice presented during the radio program and make it available in a digitalised recorded format that can be shared via portable devices such as Bluetooth speakers, traditional and smart mobile phones, and radio sets.
Adding the podcast to the Nigeria team’s educational offerings will increase EWS-KT’s reach and provide more flexibility for listeners, as they can choose when and where to listen.
Expanding Access Through Podcast Custodians
As with most podcasts, the content will be available online for free, enabling broad access to farmers both within and beyond the areas where EWS-KT works. However, not everyone uses the internet. Many smallholder farmers in Nigeria own traditional mobile phones rather than smartphones and have limited access to the internet.
In order to inclusively reach more rural and underserved farmers, the Nigeria podcast crew is doing something unique. Travelling from community to community, they have been signing up motivated “custodians” who will receive podcast audio files and share them with local farmers.
The custodians will play the longer podcasts (30 to 40 minutes each) for groups of farmers in their community, using portable devices. A survey in advance of this initiative found that women often listen to the radio together in the morning, after doing their daily chores. Men tend to gather in phone-charging areas and social centres in the early morning and late evening. Because farmers are already assembled in these times and locations, these are ideal opportunities for custodians to play the podcasts.
Shorter podcast segments (3 to 4 minutes each) are optimised for individual listening and can be shared via Bluetooth from a custodian’s phone to other farmers’ phones. This allows farmers to listen (and re-listen) at whatever time is convenient for them. These farmers, even those using traditional phones, can in turn use Bluetooth to share the podcasts with additional farmers, enabling even more people to listen and learn.
Some custodians, mostly women, do not own phones, or even radios. But the EWS-KT Nigeria podcast team has a solution for this as well. These custodians will receive the audio files on memory cards that they can play for other farmers on their own radios, if they have one, or on radio sets supplied by EWS-KT for the podcast.
The podcast episodes are being recorded in Hausa, the most commonly spoken language in northern Nigeria, and English versions will also be available for download.