Agricultural advisory services in developing countries face many challenges, one of which is to respond meaningfully to farmers’ diverse demands for advice on crop, livestock, fish, processing, business, finance and marketing issues. With limited resources advisors struggle to reach the millions of farmers.
Across countries, research institutes, universities, NGOs, extension services, companies, radio stations and farmer-based organisations are going to considerable efforts to find or develop suitable training materials for their staff and the farmers with whom they work.
An on-line survey in 2011, organised by The Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS), the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) Platform and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), indicated that farmers mainly rely on outside agencies for watching agricultural training videos. Farmers would watch videos on their own with their family or neighbours if video disc distribution mechanisms were in place - and farmers are willing to pay for video discs and video shows if they felt it would benefit their business.
About 85% of the more than 500 respondents found local languages very important for farmer training videos. To ensure that videos are sharable and of use to the global community of extension service providers and farmers, producing many poor quality local language videos is not cost-effective. Organisations are willing to translate and use videos made in other countries if they are relevant and of good quality, and if video scripts are available. Therefore, the establishment of an authoritative organisation that supports the on-line viewing, downloading and physical distribution of quality agricultural training videos will answer a real demand.
The Founders of Access Agriculture. In 2012, two media companies, Agro-Insight and Countrywise Communication, joined hands to set up the international NGO Access Agriculture, with the aim to promote the sharing and use of agricultural training videos in developing countries.
Initial seed funding for Access Agriculture came from Agro-Insight and Countrywise Communication. The main financial support has come from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) with helpful advice from many other organisations.
Agro-Insight is a company established in 2010, based in Belgium. Its director has worked in public-sector agricultural research and development in Asia and Africa for the past 20 years. Agro-Insight is spearheading the zooming-in, zooming-out method that leads to the development and wide-scale dissemination and use of quality farmer-to-farmer training videos.
Countrywise Communication, established in 1985, is a multi-award winning UK-based company specialising in video and multimedia production and training for agriculture, food and rural development. It has worked across the globe for the private sector, governments and public sector agencies, and has rich experience in assisting the production of local language versions of quality training videos.