The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) recently joined forces to host the regional virtual consultations on Communication for Development (ComDev), community media and ICTs for family farming in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Among family farming communities in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, radio remains the predominant form of community media. Low literacy rates plagues agricultural sectors, thereby rendering oral communication as the sole means for stimulating communication. An African respondent attested that “when radio goes to sleep, we also go to sleep… [and] ... when the radio wakes up, we also wake up!”
The reality of intermittent Internet access in developing countries relegates radio as the most efficient means for reaching as many family farmers as possible. For instance, feedback collected in Africa emphasizes that, since radio is the most effective ComDev resource, funds need to be directed toward training operators and that governments ought to enact legal changes which will foster radio’s expansion and make changes in licensing laws. Likewise, feedback collected in Asia reveals that radio serves as an inexpensive ICT tool for dispersing community information among family farming communities. For example, the Borguna Bangladesh Krishi community radio station, which was funded in part by the FAO, has the potential to unite community members who are struggling for constitutional recognition and for comprehensive implementation for rural communication services.
The feedback gathered from the regional virtual consultations on communications for ComDev, community media and ICTs for family farming and rural development overwhelmingly elucidates the potency that community radio has to inexpensively and thoroughly connect family farming communities in developing countries.