In spite of the fact that government has recently recruited 3200 extension workers, Uganda has continuously faced a growing deficit in extension services.
The standing ratio of extension workers to farmer households is 1:1800; Not good enough! In order to extend these services to farmers who can’t access the extension workers, experts have decided to document agricultural training videos which are later translated in local languages to help farmers all over the country access knowledge contained in their mother tongue on farming methods, services and products.
Videos are documented on coffee production, tea production, banana production, and livestock among others. Such innovation is also intended to build capacity of extension workers.
During the recent UNFFE’s National Agricultural show in Jinja, these videos greatly mesmerized the show goers and farmers who accessed them through the phone on registration. Notable of the videos was the one of innovative farmers in Bangladesh, who make floating garden beds of rotting vegetation that serve as compost.
Other videos showed farmers how to make compost with earth worms in 6 weeks, fight bacterial leaf blight disease for rice, prevent tomato leaf curl virus which withers tomato, eggplant, cauliflower, potato and tobacco plants. Livestock videos included; how to treat sick animals with herbal medicine, how to make cheese fodder and that of Egyptian farmers making silage for cattle from maize among others.
The videos, which also come on DVD, were showcased by Access Agriculture, an international not-for-profit organization dedicated to invest in farmers’ training and empowerment with extension services so they can explore new opportunities, realize better yields and improve on their household incomes.
According to the country representative, Grace Musimami, AccessAgriculture has partnered with various Agriculture extension services provision organizations in Uganda to use videos in transformation of farmers. “Farmers learn better by watching videos than simply listening to technocrats,” Grace said.
He added on to describe the uniqueness about these videos that, besides being translated in local languages, it is farmers demonstrating to other farmers, not the usual tutorials by technocrats. Farmers can request for these videos through their District Farmers’ Associations.
BY JOSHUA BESIGYE