Written by: Vanessa Vertiz, FAO
From August 25th to September 12th, FAO in collaboration with AMARC hosted regional virtual consultations on Communication for Development (ComDev), community media and ICTs for family farming and rural development in Africa, Latin America and Asia-Pacific. Participants including development professionals, community media practitioners, rural development agencies and the private sector alike were invited to share their opinions and most of all, to help in forging the way forward for ComDev in family farming in their respective regions.
Here are some of the main ideas and themes that were highlighted during the discussions, by region.
- Communication in agriculture should be a governmental policy
- Involve farmers in policy formulation
- Assess farmers’ needs on ICTs, including content and capacity development
- Youth, ICTs and agribusiness (making agriculture more attractive for rural youth)
- Communication and Information access as universal rights.
- Cross-sector approach (different ministries and rural stakeholders)
- Scale up good practices in ICTs in agriculture
- Public awareness on ComDev for family farming
- Engage farmers in policy dialogue
- Use ICTs for attracting youth in agriculture (e.g mobile phones)
- Networking and knowledge exchange among farmers at regional and country level
- Government and civil society partnership
- Advance in radio and community media licensing/infrastructure/ human resources
- Focus on participatory agricultural research programmes
- Rural communication rights, advocate for ComDev regulation and awareness raising
- Focus on women and youth
- Establishing ComDev training centers
- Invest in scholarships, research and training networks (E.g. Universal Access Funds)
- Broadcasting and community media licensing policies
- Relevant information and programming for farmers (based on farmers’ needs and agricultural research)
- Mixed broadcast sectors (state, private, community)
Overall, the consultations, which took place on the YenKasa Africa, ComDev Asia, and Onda Rural (Latin America) platforms, were broadly welcomed and seen as the start for more regional coordination and networking of ComDev practitioners towards improving the state of family farmers and rural communities with ComDev resources and know how.