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The team from Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA) and Kilimo Media International (KiMI) at Kalya FM.

Kalya FM is a local radio station in West Pokot County, Kenya broadcasting in the Pokot language spoken in the region. With the support of Kilimo Media International (KiMI) and the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA), the radio station airs an agricultural programme every Saturday evening and regular short agricultural tips targeting local farmers. With respect to the feedback from listeners, the programme is quite popular with the farmers and this is corroborated by both the County Agricultural Extension Officer and the radio staff participating in the partnership.

Kalya FM Station Manager, Job Chesumbai is certain that the programmes will continue being aired even beyond the project period support from KiMI and SFSA. “The number of calls and SMS we receive from the farmers is quite high and it would not be an option to rest the programme just yet,” he adds. “We don’t want to disappoint the many farmers who listen to us,” says Job.

The programme gives timely and valuable information on both crops and livestock. “The farmers like the fact that we broadcast in their local language which makes the information easier to understand,” Job explains. Another first for the partnership between Kalya, KiMI and SFSA is that this is the longest agricultural programming partnership the station has ever had. Job is quick to point out that the programme model allows for partnerships with the West Pokot Department of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries and other stakeholders to address farmer concerns.

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Kalya FM’s programme producer Carol Mwok explains how she was initially skeptical about producing an agricultural programme in the local language since she was not fluent in the Pokot language at the time. Also she was more accustomed to a more urban audience. After she received radio production training for agriculture programmes from KiMI she gained the confidence to design her programmes. She is now more fluent in the Pokot language, after interacting with the farmers, and loving what she does. “I like the fact that I am helping to improve the local farmers’ livelihoods by giving them information and access to the right people,” she says. “This is my biggest motivator.” She has also become quite popular in the locality as well.

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The radio programme has also enabled the Agricultural Extension Officers reach more farmers and better handle their questions and feedback. “I am able to achieve my functional duties with a greater reach without having to move physically from farmer to farmer,” says Peter Kodwaran. He shares his contacts on the programme freely and farmers are able to reach him directly on his phone. The County Veterinary and Livestock Department has also benefited from the programme by receiving feedback on their interventions from the farmers. In a recent case, a farmer reported a case of foot and mouth disease in his area and a veterinary officer was sent to the area the very next day.

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Mr Kodwran explains a point during the visit.

The programme has received support from other stakeholders such as the West Pokot County Government, the Anglican Development Services and even private sector entities like the Kenya Seed Company that sends their experts to speak about their products on radio. These interactions are strategic towards moving the programmes at Kalya FM towards sustainability.