Assessing the Level of Farmers’ Accessibility to Agricultural Biotechnology Information Through Radio in Africa

By Faith N. Nguthi, Margaret Karembu, Mary Myers, Heidi Schaeffer, Toepista Nabusoba, Julius Nyangaga and Cyr Payim.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: May 26, 2015 $US5.00

Despite the recognized role of agricultural biotechnology in increasing crop production and contributing to food security in Africa, the technology has generated controversial public debates. The controversies surrounding this technology are largely based on misinformation. The media, particularly the radio, can play a great role in reversing this situation by being objective in reporting agricultural biotechnology stories. This study assessed the level of farmers’ accessibility to biotechnology information through various media in Kenya and Burkina Faso with an emphasis on radio. The study was in the form of a household survey in each country using semi-structured questionnaires and targeting 300 respondents in each country. Radio was the most prevalent media among farmers, with 60% and 80% of farmers in Burkina Faso and Kenya respectively using it on a daily basis. It was also the most popular media in obtaining agricultural information. Farmer satisfaction with agricultural biotechnology information aired on radio was inversely proportional to the level of education, with the most educated farmers being the least satisfied. The majority of farmers in both countries were of the opinion that information on agricultural biotechnology aired on the radio was well-balanced. The extensive use of radio can be explained by the fact that farmers can listen to the programs while working in the fields, unlike other media which does not allow this possibility. Radio connects with its listeners in unique ways, providing an unusually receptive environment and is, therefore, an indispensable tool in communicating information about agricultural biotechnology. The information aired on the radio should, therefore, be well-researched and credible.

Keywords: Agricultural Biotechnology, Media, Radio, Perceptions

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies, Volume 9, Issue 2, May 2015, pp.13-23. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: May 26, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 456.246KB)).

Dr. Faith N. Nguthi

Senior Programs Officer, AfriCenter, International Service for the Acquisition of Agricultural Biotechnology, Nairobi, Kenya

Dr. Margaret Karembu

Center Director, AfriCenter, International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications, Nairobi, Kenya

Dr. Mary Myers

Consultant, London, UK

Heidi Schaeffer

Toronto, Canada

Toepista Nabusoba

Nairobi, Kenya

Julius Nyangaga

Nairobi, Kenya

Cyr Payim

Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso