Photo courtesy of Paul Van Mele.
A few hundred quality farmer-to-farmer training videos are helping farmers improve their livelihoods across the Global South.
Hosted on the Access Agriculture video platform, the videos feature farmers from all over the world leading specialized tutorials on agricultural issues in developing countries including integrated pest management, business skills, sustainable land management, and cereals.
The videos – shown on local television, online, or at local events – give advice to farmers. Additionally, the videos motivate new farmers to take advantage of new possibilities in agriculture. Access Agriculture believes the videos will provide important training and knowledge sharing across national borders, especially for women and young people.
“Whether it is poor soil quality, shorter and more intensive rainfall, or the need to diversify food production and reduce food wastage, farmers are eager to learn from others and to share knowledge,” says Paul Van Mele, co-founder and chairman of Access Agriculture. “Seeing how farmers in other parts of the world tackle similar problems to those they face gives confidence to farmers that they can also solve their own problems.”
Access Agriculture finds that farmers learn best by seeing and following their peers with diverse research backgrounds and knowledge. The videos, produced in 75 local languages, “enable scientific research and local knowledge to find common ground.”
“Farmers want to hear things being explained in an easy way, and they want to see how other farmers are doing it,” continues Van Mele. “The video format Access Agriculture promotes is one whereby scientific knowledge is neatly blended with local knowledge and presented in easy-to-understand language.”
Access Agriculture provides training on video production, translation, and script writing to organizations across Africa, Asia, and South America. The NGO trained 20 organizations as main video developers and service providers for expansion to other organizations. They hope organizations will “think outside their national borders,” engage more honestly with farmers, and encourage South to South learning.
In addition to the videos published on the NGO’s website, Access Agriculture created Agtube–a social media platform for rural communities in developing countries. Agtube facilitates horizontal knowledge sharing, allowing anyone to upload videos in any language.
Access Agriculture was set up in 2012 with main support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation to improve the prevalence and impact of agricultural training videos in developing countries.