Quality video can be an effective way of enhancing training messages and sharing complex agronomic information with a large audience. The USAID-funded Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia-Mechanisation and Irrigation (CSISA-MI) and the EU-supported Agriculture, Nutrition and Extension Project (ANEP) in Bangladesh recently produced five new farmer-focused videos on efficient irrigation technologies, machine-aided line sowing, strip tillage, bed planting and mechanized harvesters. The videos contain comical but educational dramas with farmers as actors; they focus on practical messages on how to calibrate, use and maintain the machines, which are drawn by two-wheeled tractors, and describe how machinery service providers can make money by selling machine planting and harvesting services to farmers at a low cost.
“Our research shows that machinery training videos can be an effective way of generating farmer interest in experimenting with and purchasing appropriate machinery,” explained CIMMYT agronomist Tim Krupnik. “CIMMYT’s private sector partners also agree, buying-in and paying cable television companies to screen the videos for advertising purposes, adding value to our efforts.” Most recently, The Metal Ltd., a private sector machinery manufacturer and CSISA-MI partner, aired the “Reaper” video on television in Bangladesh to an audience of over 75,000 people during 11 days. Technical support was provided by CSISA-MI’s NGO partner iDE, which arranged to show the video during the July vacation, when farmers tend to be at home watching television with their extended families.
Beyond advertising, the videos are crucial for training farmers on how to use complex machinery. According to CIMMYT training specialist Kamrun Naher, the videos are high quality and well produced. In each technical training course, they serve both as the ice-breaker and the primary lesson. “After watching the videos, service providers and farmers understand the machines’ usefulness,” she said.
“Farmers need to visualize and learn how technologies work in order to show interest in experimenting with and adopting them. Videos can help open that door,” commented Tim Krupnik. Mohammad Rafiqul, a farmer in southern Bangladesh who recently bought a wheat harvester through CSISA-MI’s private sector partners, agrees. “I should thank the video you showed me. I was inspired by it and bought the machine, though at first my family was against the investment.” In his opinion, the video should be screened more widely to increase the use of machines on Bangladeshi farms.
“The videos were prepared primarily as training materials and to influence farmers positively towards the machines,” explained Rezaul Karim, who directed the videos. Usually farmers are not well disposed towards a new idea or machine. “Our target was to remove their fear about the machines and make them feel that these machines are going to make real changes in their lives, and we succeeded.”
For more information on the use of videos in training programs, see:
Bentley, J., Van Mele, P., Harun-ar-Rashid, Md. and T.J. Krupnik. 2015. Distributing and Showing Farmer Learning Videos in Bangladesh. Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension. DOI: 10.1080/1389224X.2015.1026365.