Session: ICTs can bridge the distance between farmers and extension officers through radio combined with mobile phones. Agricultural extension officers are an invaluable resource for farmers looking to increase their yields. Extension officers can provide tips on combating a new disease, or advice on planting and post-harvest practices. Unfortunately, farmers living in remote areas infrequently interact with agricultural extension officers.However, they can use ICTs such as beep-to-vote, as well as participatory community video, to engage farmers and provide them with information they need. This innovative approach will combine radio and video to reach listening groups in select regions and farmers with the information they need to increase their yield.
Biographical information: Rex Chapota is the Regional Program Manager for East & Southern Africa/Strategic Opportunities Advisor for Farm Radio International since 1st February 2018. Prior to joining FRI, he worked as the founding Executive Director of Farm Radio Trust since 2010 till January 2018. He was working as the FRIs’ National Research Coordinator for a groundbreaking action research project known as the African Farm Radio Research Initiative (AFRRI)-Malawi Office from 2007-2009. He has over 18 years experience in developing and managing rural development projects with a passion for a holistic and sustainable transformation for Africa’s’ small scale farmers through the use of radio in combination with other ICTs. He holds an MSc in Managing Rural Development from School of Oriental Arts and African Studies-University of London, a BSc and a Diploma in Agriculture from University of Malawi. He sits on a number of high-level platforms, such as the Board Chairperson of Civil Society Network in Agriculture (CISANET), Vice Chairperson of the Malawi Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (MaFAAS), Board Member of a UK based charity known as Girl Effect and Advisory Board Member of Heifer International in Malawi.