Collaborate, Create, Communicate

AgKnowledge Africa Share Fair Round Up: Day Two

Day Two of the AgKnowledge Africa Share Fair featured a series of nine different focus groups. With topics that covered the documentation of farmer knowledge, mobile devices, value chains, online platforms, reporting agriculture, and more, participants on the campus of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, were certainly spoiled for choice.

Reporting Agriculture

This lively session showed that agricultural knowledge in Africa can be ‘reported’ through print, radio, television, Facebook, Twitter and other media. Susanna Thorp from WRENmedia talked about the challenges and opportunities of covering agricultural-related issues as well as getting youth involved in agriculture.

“We need to reach out to young people,” she said. “Agriculture is not subsistence only. Agriculture is a source of business.”

Participants discussed the need to make journalists understand the value of reporting about agriculture and how it can be presented in an attractive way.

Susanna concluded the session by saying: “If you want to sell anything – especially if you wish to share and report on agriculture – you need to be passionate!”

If there’s one thing that this Share Fair isn’t short on, it’s passion.

Peter Casier, the man who is spearheading the social media team at this event, talked about his experience in different countries: conducting video and audio interviews, taking pictures and recording sound snippets. He revealed how he prepared for each interview, processed the video and audio, and then published the results on a wide array of social media channels (blogs, Flickr, YouTube, podcasts, etc). However, he stressed that efforts are all geared to bringing the message OUT. Read his full report here!

Online Platforms

More than 30 participants showed up for the session on online platforms facilitated by Peter Ballantyne, ILRI’s Head of Knowledge Management and Information Services. Different platforms were introduced and their challenges and effectiveness discussed. Participants were told about the importance of making a user-friendly platform and producing content that is accessible, if they are to encourage participation.

Develop a good social media strategy, increase visibility, and partner with other organizations … these were just some of the ideas put forward by the facilitators as a way of increasing engagement with others. They also mentioned the importance of demonstrating effectiveness, adopting ad hoc promotional plans for the different participants and organizing online discussions around the different users.


The four pathways convened to build on the previous day’s discussions.

Livestock Pathway

Bridging the gap between researchers and farmer organizations was the theme for the livestock pathways discussion on Day Two. Experts from Kenya, Malawi, Ethiopia, Italy and India presented the innovative tools that they use to create, manage and share knowledge.

Land Pathway

Today’s session saw participants reflecting on the previous session’s country experiences. Participants talked about addressing the local land issues in the broader context of a sustainable livelihoods plan instead of as a stand-alone issue. Fiona Flintan (ELMT NRM Technical Advisor) presented a paper that provided an overview of the benefits and challenges of customary land tenure systems.

Ariel Halpern of PROCASUR took participants through what is known as the learning route – a tool developed and successfully delivered by PROCASUR to support small farmers, women and youth in about 23 countries. Mino Hardi, who participated in the learning route on Women and Land Rights, now feels suitably motivated to take some ideas from the sussion and pursue them further upon returning to Madagascar.

The Share Fair is now over but you can read the Social Media Team’s coverage on the Share Fair official blog as well as the individual sites of the various tools used:
• Blog: http://tinyurl.com/sfaddisblog
• Wiki: http://tinyurl.com/sfaddiswiki
• Tweets: http://tinyurl.com/sfaddistweets
• Photos: http://tinyurl.com/sfaddisphotos
• Videos: http://tinyurl.com/sfaddisblips
• Social web: http://tinyurl.com/sfaddismention
• Share fair FM: http://tinyurl.com/sfaddisfm

Photo credit: ILRI/Sewunet