Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Canadian graduate student visits Rangiri Radio Station in Sri Lanka to collect feedback from the use of radio and ICTs (Radio+) for sustainable agriculture.

Faria Rashid, MSc candidate from the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development at the University of Guelph (Canada), visited Rangiri Radio Station, Sri Lanka in October 2015 to understand innovation in farm radio in Sri Lanka.

Rangiri Radio staff has been collaborating with the project titled “Mobilizing Knowledge for Sustainable Agriculture” where open source software and mobile technologies are tested. The project is led by University of Alberta (Canada) and partners with University of Wayamba (Sri Lanka). Various technologies (Frontline SMS, Freedom Fone, etc.) were tested by Rangiri to support programming such as “Call – in” audience response programs, multiple text messaging and voice recorded messages.

Faria also discussed feedback from the Rangiri Radio technicians and broadcasters about the farm radio program and further opportunities to use mobile technologies and open source software. Radio+ combines radio with new ICTs enabling radio and agricultural communities to create innovations such as rapid relay of information about sustainable farming to listeners. She discovered that open software such as Freedom Fone and Frontline SMS make the radio program more popular to farmer listeners. Rangiri Radio staff mentioned that after using the open source software in their farm program, responses from farmer listeners increased dramatically. The main strength of this experience for understanding ICT-enabled radio or “Radio+” is that it creates a strong communication relation as well as a multi-media connection between agricultural experts and farmers. Radio+ enhances farm radio programs. Farmers can get their problems solved quickly and easily by accessing important information from agricultural experts when they ask questions through the open source software channels. 

Faria and the rest of the project team greatly appreciate the work of Rangiri Radio and their support to make this visit successful.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Wold Food Day - October 16th

World Food Day Highlights Importance of Resilience in Agriculture Development 

This year’s World Food Day on October 16 is a reminder that building resilience to climate change and other shocks and stresses is critical to achieving food security. Increasing food production alone is not enough to combat poverty and hunger among the world’s most vulnerable communities. Roughly 1.2 billion people worldwide live in extreme poverty, with 78 percent of them living in rural areas where agriculture is the main driving force of the economy. Programs to better manage drought cycles, revolutionize farming in traditionally unproductive zones, connect farmers to early warning data, and promote access to financial services can truly transform livelihoods and break the cycle of chronic food insecurity.
Several of the winning Global Resilience Challenge teams are demonstrating how these approaches can build resilience among some of the world’s vulnerable populations: CLICK TO READ MORE.