Bridging the knowledge gap between farmers and the youth
This blog is a submission to the Community of Practice on Data-Driven Agronomy’s blog competition on digital extension—an opportunity for those working in the digital extension in agriculture field to share their experiences with their technologies, business models, key challenges, and major bottlenecks, as well as how they solved such challenges, when creating and implementing innovative solutions.
Agriwaves TV (ATV) is a digital television that connects young farmers, agro-entrepreneurs, and value chain actors to modern innovations and opportunities to improve their businesses.
The ATV platform is available as a mobile app and interactive website. Farmers experience poor yield due to limited access to quality information, and the population surge in the youth demographic has created an unemployment problem.
By sharing best practices through digital technologies and facilitating access to investment opportunities in the agribusiness sectors, ATV promotes youth engagement in agribusiness. Against the backdrop of low interest in agriculture, especially among the youth in Nigeria, conscious efforts are required to change negative perceptions about agriculture. To attract youth engagement, we must position it as a trendy business and fulfilling occupation.
ATV aims to bridge the knowledge gap and connect value chain actors to business opportunities and modern innovations to upscale their productivity. We launched ATV in order to change the narrative, which happens to be the first online agriculture TV in Nigeria strictly dedicated to streaming agricultural content.
ATV user interfaces (web and app) are interactive, easy to browse, and have download options for offline entertainment to increase portability. For premium users, we offer personalized e-learning materials and training videos that suit their business interests. We also connect them with our pool of seasoned experts.
As a critical player in the digital agriculture space, we develop audio-visual content, specifically to appeal to youth, boosting learning and interest in agricultural activities. This shifts away from traditional information sharing models.
By employing an engaging style that highlights the benefits of agriculture as a career and business, strengthens innovation, and increases youth engagement, we aim to facilitate information and knowledge exchange between farmers and youth. ATV is re-branding and influencing public perception about agribusiness.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced? How did you overcome them?
Phone penetration has improved in Nigeria with over 65 percent of the adult population having access to a cell phone. Yet, despite increased cell phone access,lack of information about current trends, technical knowledge, and business opportunities are major constraints to increasing productivity and profitability of agricultural enterprises.
ATV bridges the information gap in the sector by producing videos and blog posts that showcase success stories of agripreneurs and agricultural projects. One major challenge I faced as a digital entrepreneur was inadequate funding to acquire equipment and low partnership engagements, so I was hiring equipment at the onset of operations.
Additionally, lack of network connectivity and slow adoption of innovation in rural communities are big challenges.
I am countering these challenges by teaming up with a co-founder to self-fund our project and acquire basic equipment for video coverage of programs and events. I also partner with like-minded individuals to complement each other and execute bigger-scale projects that require large amounts of capital and expertise.
In the next phase of our expansion, we plan to develop our content in major local languages in order to expand the window of opportunities for clientele in the grassroots.
Our content is designed to promote sustainable agriculture, improve farmers’ access to relevant information, and enable entrepreneurs, farmers, policymakers, funding organizations, and the public to access opportunities and share learning experiences.
At ATV, we design training videos and campaigns based on result analysis from field research and market assessments that stimulate young people to see agriculture as a key economic driver and one of the best career options for them to invest in.
In your opinion, what is the main opportunity for digital extension services? What recommendations would you make in order to realize this opportunity?
There is need for private sector and policy stakeholders to harmonize their strategies and build rural infrastructure where greater appropriation of agri-tech processes by women and youth in building sustainable food systems using digital extension services is a top growth priority.
Photo: Terry Sunderland / CIFOR. Two men harvest pineapples in Nigeria.
January 20, 2020
Eric Terver Nyikwagh
Chief Operating Officer / Co-Founder