Friday, 25 May 2012

My Take on Shamba Shape Up

Shamba Shape Up is a farm reality show aired in episodes on Citizen TV Kenya for 30 minutes every Saturday and Sunday.The series for the first episodes ends in June.
The show focusses on meeting the needs of the rural households in Kenya as director David Campbell puts it across.It entails a  make over for any choosen farm.Two presenters Naomi Kamau and Toni Njuguna who can be traced back to Makutano Junction Drama series sets to give expert advice on the chosen farms. This advice ranges from soil fertility issues,what seed variety to plant in a certain area, poultry care, livestock care, water harvesting methods, better storage means in order to avoid post harvest losses, bee keeping, financial planning ,disease prevention issues on solar energy.

On 15th May,Guardian Development tweeted asking for my opinion on Shamba Shape Up.Unfortunately i was on transit and i couldn't  get to reply back as soon as possible.

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My Take on Shamba Shape Up
In the wake of  global conferences centering on advances in agricultural research and development, lots of information fail to reach the intended person in the rural area, the farmer. These farmers rarely attend these sessions but with just watching TV and learning a lot on the above cited issues. TV in rural areas of Kenya are more spread than internet and hence a good ICT source of passing on information.This is coupled by the fact the episodes are broadcasted in Kiswahili which is an understandable language amongst many.
The TV farm make up series is a huge step to allowing good farming practices amongst the youths and old farmers. Just to demonstrate a section of recent tweets on the same click here click HERE.

Nevertheless, i figure some few what nots on my side:
i) Most of the visited lands are of small acreage and passed on through inheritance and going by the use of fertilizers advocate amongst the chosen farms,what is the sustainabillity of farming on these farms? What of advocating farming practices the like of organic farming and Permaculture?

ii) How much of the impact is felt by targetting only one farmer on the road trip? Wouldn't it be much better to focus on a wider coverage of farms so that the domino effect could be of a greater magnitude?

iii) Why do they focus only on the old generation?How about doing a makeover to schools too where children farm? This in addition to making their farms productive could give agriculture a lift as a very important course and  concept in the growth of the economy.You could help a lot in showcasing that agriculture isn't a profession of the poor,the old, the retired and hence you can mould young farmers at an early stage.

iv) My crowning worry is the sponsoring partners and what their real intentions are behind the sponsoring of the project. In the wake of genetically modified organisms,(GMOs) companies advocating for their products have been seen to hide under the umbrella of other projects that allure the eyes of the people in a way they forget what is happening beyond what they can see.More so, in my view i feel it is a channel for depedancy on toxic chemicals on the part of the farmers.A time will come when these lands can't make do without the chemicals and apparently most of these farmers operate on a small scale and finances to currently buy these chemicals and fertilizers are minimal. What is their take on this??????

All in all i love the ICT4D concept of using the TV to reach a majority of farmers in the rural confines of Kenya.

On the link below,sample videos of the episodes in the first series and you could leave your reaction in form of a comment.Thanks!
Shamba Shape Up All Episodes

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