There has been a long relationship with agriculture and the media but this has posed more threats than its advantages.
Vice President America hydroponics of Arcata and Lead horticulturalist at AmHydro, Joe Swartz, strongly believes that the biggest challenge he sees right now is that a lot of inappropriate technology are being promoted, especially in the Media because people, brands have made certain technologies look really interesting or cool which he referred to as ‘’Shiny Objects’’.
The media hype has been a distraction from the fundamentals of good farming such as life cycle of plants, correct variety selection, etc.
The media plays an important role in circulating crucial information to farmers, also communicating research messages needed for famers and reaching their concerns. The dependence on the mainstream media has been misleading, exaggerating and distorting crucial information’s about farming.
The most important role of media in agriculture is creation of opportunities for farmers to directly reach a wider audience in a little time.
My experience during my first field trip to Obada community, Owena, Akure south, Ondo state, Nigeria helped me realize the communication gap between rural famers and access to media as opposed to city dwellers who can easily get access to crucial information needed at that point in time. It was a 7 days’ field visit of which I did some interviews with some famers and here is what I learnt;
We have a poor linkage system between the farmers and the media and this has left a gap for farmers to get exclusive information regarding agro commodities on market trends, seed varieties, machinery and most importantly access to policy makers, so as to make their opinions addressed.
Perhaps, media has been one of the most under-evaluated human face in agriculture and impelled by inaccuracy and exaggerations. The media, which is arguably one of the most powerful tool in the world should help strengthen fundamentals of good farming and help employ the correct technologies in the appropriate situation, assembling the correct technologies to effectively grow.
Charles Dhewa, Knowledge Transfer Africa, Zimbabwe suggest that we need to have more forums where the media engages with the policymakers, because policymakers don’t usually understand the role of the media in agriculture.
Social media platforms, newspapers and farm magazine are widely used by the different mass media. They play a crucial role in communicating farm information among literate farmers. Increasing nation literacy rates can bring new possibilities and opportunities for the use of print media as a tool of mass communication. This can easily be accessible and convenient for readers
We can leverage on academic researches to fully understand the impact of the media in farming. This will help us to focus on the basis of correct farming, learning much about the life cycle of plant, the behaviour of insect and disease pests and effective technologies needed. With these efforts, the media can help with a lot of public education about correct farming system for everyone.