African Farm Radio Results Initiative 2

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The Challenge

As of 2007 little research had been conducted on the effectiveness of farm radio in meeting the food security objectives of rural farming households in Africa.

Radio was recognized as an economical and accessible form of communication, but a greater understanding of farmer behaviour, radio station capacity, and rural communication dynamics was required to assess the potential of radio to benefit farmers and to devise effective farm radio strategies. Additionally, methods for integrating other ICTs into farm radio programming were largely unexplored.  
Our Solution

The African Farm Radio Research Initiative (AFRRI) was an in-depth action research project that confirmed the transformative potential of participatory radio for smallholder famers. Farm Radio Trust, before its evolution into an independent organization, was responsible for implementing AFRRI in the Malawian context.

The knowledge gained from the project allowed for the creation of proven farm radio standards, methodology, and implementation strategies that ensure participatory farm radio programming best serves the needs of African farmers.

A preliminary study was conducted to determine the costs involved in developing and sustaining farm broadcasting. The aim of the study was to help ensure AFRRI explored and developed radio-based communication strategies that are feasible for rural radio stations to implement and sustain. Once the preliminary study was complete, three 42-month action research projects were devised and undertaken:

  • The first project studied the effectiveness of different ICTs in facilitating two-way communication between radio stations and farmers.  
  • The second project sought to better understand how radio could enhance traditional marketing information service (MIS).
  • The third project aimed to test out the newly developed participatory radio campaign (PRC) approach.


  1. Produced a report that shows the integration of additional ICTs into farm radio programming is extremely effective in increasing listenership, enhancing participation and in achieving widespread behaviour change.    
  2. Produced a report that shows the potential of radio to provide an integrated approach to market information and tailor market information to suit various locations, local market conditions, crops, production activities, and cultural practices.
  3. Produced a report that proved the efficacy of the new participatory radio campaign (PRC) approach developed by FRI.

AFRRI Project Profile

Sector: Research

Location: Malawi, Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania and Mali

Implementation Period: 2007-2010

Status: Complete

Project Lead: Farm Radio International

Partners: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, World University Service of Canada