Tune in: Philippine rural broadcasters to promote climate-smart agriculture

In the Philippines, 85% of households listen to radio, thus, it holds an important role in imparting science-based climate information across the country. Photo: Dwight Jason Ronan

In spite of the advent of new media, radio continues to be the frontrunner in sharing climate change information especially among farmers in rural communities.

The fundamental role of rural broadcasters is highly valuable in sharing science-based solutions to climate-related problems in agriculture

Radio continues as the prevalent medium of communication in the Philippines with its reach of about 85% of households across the country. Along with this, the Philippine Federation of Rural Broadcasters (PFRB), with support from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security in Southeast Asia (CCAFS SEA), have started conducting a series of media workshops for rural broadcasters since August this year. The fundamental role of rural broadcasters is highly valuable in sharing science-based solutions to climate-related problems in agriculture.

These workshops kicked off a pilot radio campaign, titled 'Mobilizing the Rural Sector for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation: A Pilot Radio Campaign in the Philippines.' The media workshops aim to engage at least 75 rural broadcasters from across the country and familiarise them with the science of climate change mitigation and adaptation. To be more confident in providing climate information, rural broadcasters must have a good grasp of various climate change issues and make them effective in communicating these especially to rural farming communities.

The pilot radio campaign aims to elevate climate change awareness among rural communities and mobilise towards climate change adaptation and mitigation. Particular emphasis shall be given to empower marginalised sectors such as rural women, indigenous peoples and youth. Creating climate-aware communities could stimulate a cascading effect on their local leaders and policy makers to mainstream climate change in policies and programmes.

The radio campaign is in line with CCAFS’ initiative to promote climate-smart agriculture (CSA), which is a way of attaining sustainable agricultural development amid climate change. CSA aims to: (1) ensure food security through improved and sustainable agricultural productivity, (2) build capacity towards climate resiliency and adaptation, (3) and mitigate emissions of greenhouse gasses.

During the 2-day workshop, the participants produced ready-to-be-aired broadcast materials in local languages. These materials were shared with other interested radio stations.

"If this project becomes successful, it will be replicated in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos,” said Leocadio Sebastian, CCAFS SEA Program Leader.

Media engagement has been at the center of CCAFS SEA’s communication activities, recognising the importance of media in sharing science-based climate information for better public understanding and catalysing informed decisions in adapting to and mitigating climate change. The idea of this series of media workshops for rural broadcasters stemmed from a similar event organised by CCAFS SEA in the Philippines on August 2014, attended by members of PFRB, PSciJourn, PAJ and other media practitioners.

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Ryan Angelo Celis is a Senior Communication Specialist for CCAFS Southeast Asia.