Multimedia Extension

Location: Nampula and Zambézia provinces
Duration: 2016-2019
Donor: USAID, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, DfID
Focus areas: Information Communication Technology for extension dissemination; market information systems

Agricultural extension services are a vital service for farmers. In Mozambique, however, the ratio of extension services is around 1,200 per farmer – far off the 250 recommended by the FAO. This limits the adoption of new, yield enhancing practices and technologies, and keeps farmers in the dark with regards to prices and markets. The situation is even worse for more marginalized farmers – women, for instance, are around half as likely to receive extension services as men.

Our MultiMedia Extension project provided remote, Information Communication Technology (ICT) enabled extension advice to around 500,000 smallholders along the Beira and Nacala corridors. Since most of those farmers were usually excluded from traditional face to face extension models, our services were a vital lifeline –  not only their only formal source of agronomic advice, but also of real-time agricultural information for taking informed marketing decisions.

MultiMedia Extension worked with three ICT channels:

  1. Cellphone enabled IVR, SMS and USSD messages, in partnership with Vodacom Mozambique and Human Network International (VIAMO) through its 321 agricultural services platform
  2. Community radio, in partnership with Farm Radio International
  3. Community video

Selected results:

  • Cellphone based extension: 69,000 smallholders accessed extension advice via cellphone, in Portuguese and three local languages
  • Radio based extension: 35 community radio staff from five community radios were trained in participatory radio programming and digital feedback tools. 186 live interactive programs were aired to 440,000 listeners (meaning that 63% of all adults in the radio catchment areas tuned in)
  • Community video extension: Instructional videos were disseminated to over 2,000 people through video screens mounted at NCBA CLUSA supported agrodealers’ stores and community video screenings
  • Market Information System: 27 private sector firms used the 321 cellphone platform to market to the smallholder segment, demonstrating its potential future role as a commercial (sustainable) market information system
  • Responding to shocks and stresses: Thousands of smallholders were able to prepare for and take action against sudden shocks – notably, the Fall Army Worm (a pest which can totally decimate maize crops) and the “pigeon pea crisis” (a sudden collapse of the  pigeon pea market in 2017)