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Improving government accountability and responsiveness to small-scale farmers in Tanzania

Farm Radio International

“Agricultural policy reforms, and decisions about small-scale agriculture that are influenced by the private sector, greatly impact the lives and livelihoods of small-scale farmers.” — Farm Radio International

3.7 million

smallholdings in Tanzania

19 million

people live on smallholdings

Start date
December 2015
End date
December 2016
Period: 13 months


Small-scale farming is the backbone of African agriculture and food security. Many rural communication initiatives use radio and mobile technologies to ensure that small-scale farmers have the information they need, when they need it.

However, few of these initiatives look at the potential for ICTs to raise the voices of rural people to influence agricultural policies or advocate for better extension services.


Farm Radio International is implementing a programme called ‘The Listening Post’, an interactive channel that uses FM radio broadcasts, mobile phones, video and photos to enable farmers in Tanzania to give real-time feedback on the impact of agricultural development projects.

This is intended to facilitate two-way communication between project implementers, government ministries and farmers. However, it is unclear how this happens in practice.

While The Listening Post already collects data from small-scale farmers, many challenges remain in terms of:

  • assessing whether it actually raises farmers’ voices
  • how to get useful data into the hands of decision-makers
  • the usefulness of the data collected for inspiring action.

This research project will enable Farm Radio International to reassess the data collected from farmers through The Listening Post, examine how farmer voices were used, and evaluate the impacts on development actors involved in advocacy and decision-making about small-scale agriculture in Tanzania.


Farm Radio International is a Canadian charity working with more than 500 radio partners in 38 African countries to fight poverty and food insecurity. It helps African radio broadcasters meet the needs of local small-scale farmers and their families in rural communities through developing broadcaster resources, providing broadcaster training, and working with partner radio stations to plan and deliver special radio campaigns and programmes.