Sharing Agricultural Research

Inserting agricultural messages into popular entertainment can help reach a wider audience and make your message 'stick'.

The Africa Soil Health consortium (ASHC), led by CABI, has been working with local partners to merge scientific knowledge and technical innovations with entertainment, creating comics, pop music and drama to broaden their audience and help ‘make messages stick’.



Agricultural stories shared through the Shujaaz comic (with a distribution of over 1.5 million copies in Kenya and Tanzania) are helping to make maize farming ‘cool’, changing young people’s attitudes towards farm-based income generation.



In Ghana, ASCH’s Gender and Legume alliance worked with Countrywise Communication to share messages on growing soya beans in lively music videos which draw on traditional folk traditions as well as high life and hip life culture.  Check out Countrywise communication's facebook page to see the videos.



A radio drama developed by Farm radio, and targeted particularly to women, shares information about legume production and marketing.


In all these initiatives, the ASHC worked closely with local creatives to enable them to create nuanced content that would appeal to local audiences. 


Read more about this initiative in the CABI (Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International) blog.

Have you used comics, music or drama to share messages?  I’d love to hear your experiences.

Research in Mozambique finds that animated videos provide an effective source of information for farmers that extension services can't reach.

Bello-Bravo J et al 2019  

Research led by Julia Bello-Bravo compared the use of traditional communication methods (ideas shared by an agricultural agent through farmers meetings and household visits) with the use of animated videos, to show farmers an improved storage technique for beans.


The study found that the videos were as effective as the traditional technique, a finding which suggests the enormous potential to use animated videos in places where extension services are not available. 


Importantly, the study also found that the animations were effective “regardless of participants' educational or technical literacy, gender, socioeconomic status or geographic remoteness”. p3


The study concludes that “animated videos, shared by smart phone have the unique capacity for most widely, scalably and cost-effectively reaching the widest array of people but, most importantly those most vulnerable populations (women, youth and /or the rural poor) otherwise less likely to receive needed agricultural extension knowledge". 


Some important learning from the exercise:

You can read the full article here.

An 89% solution adoption rate at a two-year follow-up: evaluating the effectiveness of an animated agricultural video approach. 2019 Julia Bello-Bravo, Eric Abbott, Sostino Mocumbe, Ricardo Maria, Robert Mazur & Barry R. Pittendrigh (Information Technology for Development).

Phone-based animations increase the impact of agricultural research in Burkina Faso


Research led by Mywish Maredia, of Michigan State University, found that mobile phone-based animations were as effective as the traditional extension approach in helping farmers in Burkina Faso to learn about and adopt new ideas. What worked best of all was when the two were used together. Farmers could review and reinforce the information shared by the extension staff by watching the video on their phone.  


The researchers found that each farmer who received the video shared it with, on average eight others. Not only did this allow the video to reach more people, it also increased interaction and discussion around the new information, which the researchers believe increased its uptake even further.


These findings have important implications for how we can enhance the impact of agricultural research. As more and more people in remote rural areas have access to mobile phones,  phone-based animations have enormous potential to reach people who might have missed out in the past.  


You can read the full article here.   

Click on the image on the left to see the animation that was shared.

Can mobile phone-based animated videos induce learning and technology adoption among low-literate farmers? A field experiment in Burkina Faso

Mywish K. Maredia, Byron Reyes, Malick N. Ba, Clementine L. Dabire, Barry Pittendrigh & Julia Bello-Bravo

Pages 429-460 | Published online: 19 Apr 2017