The USAID-funded Agricultural Development and Value Chain Enhancement II (ADVANCE II) project works with radio stations to disseminate relevant and timely information on good agronomic practices, market prices, and other agricultural-related issues to smallholder farmers to improve yields and produce quality. ADVANCE II supports the scaling up of the maize, rice, and soybean value chains to achieve a greater degree of food security in Ghana to benefit 113,000 smallholder farmers.
Some radio stations, however, either do not have regular agricultural programs or have subpar programs due to their inability to attract sponsorship. In ADVANCE II’s first phase, the project supported 17 radio stations with an estimated listenership of 200,000. It also trained stations on how to attract sponsorship for agricultural programs. This effort has led to a sponsorship from U.S.-based technology company, ZenoRadio.
ZenoRadio is supporting four radio stations—Radio Builsa, Radio Justice, ADRS FM, and W93.5 FM—in the Northern, Upper West, Upper East, and Brong Ahafo regions, respectively, with a grant of GH₡7,000 ($1,840).The grant comes in the form of airtime cost. ZenoRadio will also provide the stations with free streaming services through their ZenoLive platform. ZenoLive allows radio stations to stream broadcasts live, store streamed content for future access, and utilize a dashboard to manage phone-ins from listeners tuning in from the Internet at no cost.
Of the sponsorship, ZenoRadio’s Country Rep Mac Maison comments that “In developing our strategy to provide radio stations throughout the country with our ZenoLive free streaming services we noticed a significant gap in resources available for stations located in rural areas. We believe our ZenoLive platform provides radio stations with minimal, to non-existent Internet presences a chance to create additional revenue streams while being heard worldwide.”
ZenoRadio is looking to extend the grant to all radio stations partnering with ADVANCE II for wider dissemination of information to farmers. ADVANCE II is currently working through 25 radio stations across the Northern, Upper East, Upper West, and Brong Ahafo regions with an estimated listenership of 300,000.
Saddique Sulemana of North Star Radio, Tamale, says “ZenoRadio support has helped us to extend our coverage. A lot of farmers listen to our farm programs through this support by streaming the network live.”