Improving extension: Farmer to farmer videos

The HSAD initiative is working to improve the way in which new techniques and technologies are delivered to farmers – emphasizing the ‘for’ in research for development. But, how can this be achieved in a direct, easily understood way to optimize adoption?  
 
Using modern communication tools and techniques, HSAD recently initiated a series of training sessions to equip Iraqi extension agents with the knowledge and skills to produce informative instructional videos targeting Iraqi farmers.  
 
Delivered by Access Agriculture, a UK-based international NGO which showcases agricultural training videos, the sessions were held across Iraq – from Basra in the South, where videos were developed to instruct date farmers on the correct application of integrated pest management techniques, to Erbil in the north, where conservation agriculture packages were featured.
 
Although participants already had some experience producing instructional videos, the trainings sought to enhance their skills, introducing new techniques that will ultimately improve the information that farmers receive. Priority areas included narrative development; planning ahead; and, crucially, amplifying the voices of farmers – given that target beneficiaries are more likely to respond to other producers. So-called ‘farmer to farmer’ videos are a vital means of gaining trust and a proven strategy that facilitates higher rates of technology adoption.
 
Here are two examples of the ‘farmer to farmer’ videos recently produced by extension agents in Basra: 
 
Date Palm Protection
 
Date palm is a key commodity in Iraq and an integral component of irrigated farming systems in central and southern parts of the country – but years of conflict and sanctions have harmed production significantly. How can farmers protect date palm trees and boost their production? 
 
Watch the video here
 
Integrated Pest Management for date palm
 
In addition to years of conflict and sanctions, date palm productivity is also hampered by destructive insect pests. The best option to control these pests is Integrated Pest Management (IMP), a practical and environmentally-sound approach that combines cultural and biological interventions, and only advocates the use of chemicals when alternative methods have been exhaustive, costs are not excessive, and there is no threat to existing agro-ecosystems. 
 
Watch the video here