Interview: Successful 'fast-food' agricultural knowledge in the making

Shamba Shape Up is a TV program in Kenya, that brings the latest agricultural information to farmers. Key words are fast, easy and accessible. CCAFS works with providing knowledge on climate change to the TV-show. Photo: K. Trautmann

I got the chance to sit down with Shamba Shape-Up’s presenter, Tonny Njuguna to talk about the hardships that farmers are facing in East Africa and how Shamba Shape-Up has helped.

Farmers need innovative ways to get information about agriculture, and Shamba Shape-Up does just that. Using information from its partners, such as the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), the show presents the information to farmers through its quirky apprTonny Njuguna and his co-presenter Naomi Kamau, both working for Shamba Shape-up, providing the latest agricultural information to farmers in East Africa. Photo: S. MacMillan (ILRI)oach to farming: a make-over show.

Every week during the planting season, Shamba Shape-Up gives farmers ideas of adaptations that will help them adapt and build resilience to climate change.

 “Farming practices have been passed from generation to generation, with little support and improved knowledge due to the collapse of the extension service,” Tonny told me, “Farm sizes have decreased, seed is recycled and the soil is exhausted. As a result, productivity has dropped, food security is poor and crop systems are outdated.”

And farmers are noticing the changing weather patterns related to climate change. “All the farmers we visited have commented on the unreliability of the weather - usually the pattern of the seasons changing and there being too much rain in too short a time, at the wrong time.”

The key is to reach as many people as possible. “The demand for agricultural information in the region is huge,” added Tonny, “We are constantly being sent messages asking anything from how to grow chickens to what crops can be intercropped on small plots.”

Farmers have been responding well to the program. More than 3.6 million farmers have changed their practices as a result of the show. This number rises with each season, and Shamba Shape-Up is now preparing to film its fourth season.

Learn more about this partnership and watch Shamba Shape up videos related to climate change:

Farmers get latest solutions for climate 'shape-up

Kenyan farmers use climate 'entertainment' for empowerment

Written by Manon Verchot, CCAFS Intern based in Nairobi, Kenya, working with Theme 4: Linking Knowledge with Action.