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TV Series Helps Restore Rice Landscape Biodiversity in Vietnam

rice farmers in vietnamA TV series using entertainment-education principles helps change farmers’ beliefs and pest management practices in Vietnam.

Developed by a multi-stakeholders’ group, the TV program focuses on motivating farmers to raise flowering plants along rice bunds. The key message is that the flowers provide the shelter, nectar, alternate hosts, and pollen to conserve insects such as bees. These insects in turn protect the rice crop from invading planthoppers. In order not to kill the bees, therefore, farmers are encouraged not to use insecticides. 

A multi-stakeholder engagement process drives the development of the TV series. Stakeholders include researchers, extension workers, scientists, TV production staff, video producers, local government officials, and real actors. The scriptwriters work with technical team from research and extension to develop the story line in each episode; the video team does on-site filming engaging professional actors and scientists; provincial TV station provides air time and program management; a research organization supports the video production and research activities; and the local government finances the launching ceremony and on-ground activities. 

Evaluation of the program indicates that farmers who viewed the TV episodes spray significantly less insecticides, use less nitrogen fertilizer, use lower seed rates, and gain higher yields than the non-viewers. Generally, they exhibit change in their beliefs about ecology and adoption of a more environment friendly pest management. 

Source: Heong, K. L., Escalada, M. M., Chien, H. V., & Cuong, L. Q. (2014). Restoration of rice landscape biodiversity by farmers in Vietnam through education and motivation using media. SAPIENS (Online), 7. http://sapiens.revues.org/1578

Photo credit: FAO

Tags: Television, farmers, entertainment-education, rice farming, biodiversity

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