“We used to disseminate agriculture techniques like an advertisement. We used top-down approach using opportunities like meetings to tell farmers about new ways of working or new products. Now, the technology we introduce is demand driven – we focus on technologies the farmers are interested in.”
Feyesa Gemeda, a 32 year old father of three, studied Rural Development Agriculture Extension in one of Ethiopia’s oldest universities. “I have been working as agriculture development agent for the last 10 years. One of my biggest responsibilities as a development agent is to disseminate agriculture technologies to farmers. But the way I work has changed dramatically in the last two years. I have changed.”
Feyesa is now a focal person in an Oxfam’s pilot projet: Digital Green. With this project, to teach farmers new skills, techniques or technologies, development agents work with with local farmers to produce tutorial videos that are then shared with other farmers.
“We produce the videos with model farmers to demonstrate new technologies, learn in a group setting tapping on indigenous knowledge, and follow-up closely with those interested in adopting that new technologies.”
“Through the process of introducing this technology, I have learned how to produce a video, built good relations with farmers and other development agents, to share information and knowledge. I know fundamental change can only come when the change happens to the majority. And I plan to work hard in spreading this approach and find other ways to use information and communications technology in agriculture development.”
“I have more confidence in what I know and I am continuously learning from indigenous knowledge of the farmers. That has built my confidence in my ability to make a difference.”
Photo: Selome Kebede/Oxfam
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