Cameroon: Agricultural advice live on Amplitude FM (by Anne Mireille Nzouankeu, for Farm Radio Weekly in Cameroon)
Date Posted: August 6th, 2012
Bernard Djonga, an agronomist, sits in the studio of Amplitude FM radio station. A listener calls in and asks, “At what age should we separate a breeding doe from the other rabbits?”Mr. Djonga is at ease in the studio. Without referring to any documents, he answers the question, posed during the radio program “Agricultural Frequency.”
He explains that rabbits can be left together to grow. At around five months, the breeder should notice a change in the behaviour of an adult rabbit. At this stage, males and females should be separated. He says, “It is usually around five or six months of age that female rabbits to be used for breeding purposes should be isolated.”
Since November 2011, the interactive program “Agricultural Frequency” has been broadcast live every Thursday afternoon on Amplitude FM, a local radio station in Yaoundé, Cameroon’s economic capital. It is designed for farmers, livestock keepers or anyone wanting to engage in these activities. The show is produced by the Citizen Action Advocacy group (ACDIC), a group of rural entrepreneurs chaired by Bernard Djonga.
Mr. Djonga explains that ACDIC created the program so farmers could have their questions answered without having to travel for miles to meet an agricultural supervisor or other knowledgeable person. He adds, “Radio is the most accessible medium for farmers. They can call or send an SMS even from their field. We offer them the opportunity to ask any questions they have. ”
The program has four sections: rural news, a press review, weather and market prices, and a question and answer period. It is this last category that has made the reputation of the show. Listeners call in with questions, which the agronomist answers. Listeners can call or SMS their questions at any time during the show.
Valsero, a rapper known to Cameroonian music lovers, is the presenter of the program. He introduces the various sections, and reads the listeners’ questions.
One young man called in to say, “I want to raise Gambian rats. I want to know how to distinguish a male from a female. ”
Without consulting notes, Bernard Djonga explained that you can tell by raising the hind legs of the animal, and looking at the space between the anus and the genital area: “When the distance between these two parts is very small, this is a female. When the distance is great, it is a male.” The listener was satisfied. He planned to buy a breeding pair and was afraid of being cheated.
Many questions went unanswered at the end of the 90-minute program. The show had received 37 SMSs and three phone calls, but Bernard Djonga could only respond to 11 SMSs and the phone calls. The other questioners will have to try again next week.