Reaching More Farmers through IVR

Digital Green reached more than 18,600 farmers, including 1,957 female farmers, with various seasonal agricultural messages in five different languages through ATA’s 8028 in the past six months. The messages, transmitted starting from June, 2021; focuses on harvest and post-harvest, weeding & fertilizer application, pest & disease control, row planting, land preparation, seed selection for crops like wheat, tef, barley, maize, sorghum, and coffee. 

Digital Green is using technologies such as video and IVR to empower farmers by providing access to information on improved agricultural practices in partnership with other like minded organizations and institutions. This collaboration will reach out to a wider audience base and farmers who cannot be able to have the opportunity to attend the face to face video extension sessions. In this regard, Digital Green partners with the Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) and is utilizing the 8028 line, to ensure that smallholders have immediate access to relevant seasonal agricultural information, which will help them to make decisions aligned with their farming practices. Accordingly, Digital Green has managed to reach 18658 farmers, 3168 Development Agents (DAs) as well as 528 regional, zonal and woreda level heads with various messages in five languages. Besides using the 8028-line, Digital Green is partnering with ATA in various activities. As part of the partnership, Digital Green assigned Ecom Technologies to provide capacity building and skill transfer focusing on Application and user side of 8028. The 8028 Farmers’ Hotline is a system designed to provide agronomic best practices to smallholder farmers via mobile and landline phones. Starting its operation in 2014, the 8028 Farmer’s Hotline reached more than 5.5 million registered users to receive different agronomy, and Livestock based information in the country using 6 languages.


“ I have witnessed the social change the video extension has brought to farmers” a reflection from a Model Master Trainer

In Ethiopia, Digital Green is training staff from the government agriculture office in video production and video dissemination. The training is delivered by Digital Green team. However, eight selected agricultural professionals in Amhara Region were trained as trainer-of-trainers (ToT) to make the training more sustainable and institutionalized with the government’s structures. These eight selected staff are also working as assistant master trainers during video dissemination training in their respective sites.   

Bogale Luel is one of these master trainers. He was born and raised in Gishe Rabel, North Shewa Zone. He is currently working as an Extension Communication Specialist at the North Shewa Zone Agriculture Office. In addition to his government work in this office, he is also responsible for overseeing the overall work in the districts where Digital Green operates and working as focal person. Bogale has received a full master trainer training at the regional level and he has been working as Digital Green’s  focal point since 2011. Bogale began attending dissemination and production training since he was an extension officer at the Bureau of Agriculture.

Tesfu Altaseb, Digital Green field coordinator in Amhara region, says, “From those ToT participants who became master trainers, Bogale Lule is the model. Whenever Digital Green invites him to provide video dissemination training, he is eager and ready to provide  it. He provided seven video dissemination trainings for Woreda Agriculture staff with little assistance from Digital Green to date. The feedback in every session helped him to build his skills and knowledge as a master trainer. He has now become a qualified coach which he feels confident about.  In all the Woredas where he participated as a trainer, the feedback from the trainees is always praising him for his training techniques as suitable and easy to understand.”

Speaking of the training he is providing, Bogale said, “What makes me more interested in video production and dissemination training is the fact that I have witnessed the social change it has brought to farmers. I believe that video dissemination will be expanded in all regions and woredas and if it is implemented for the benefit of all farmers, it will increase production and productivity.” Currently, Bogale is providing independent video dissemination training for participants. Tesfu said, “Although there are many trainers in the Amhara region, he has excelled and has become a coach who is known for his bravery. As such, he is a model trainer who has been instrumental in helping Digital Green effectively implement training plans in a timely manner.”