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Best-fit considerations

Target groups: Video can reach a wide range of target groups including the poor, women, and young people. The approach is especially suitable for low literacy populations, a disproportionate number of whom tend to be women. Young people are also attracted to video and other forms of new media.

Innovations: Video is a versatile tool, appropriate for sharing information on many agricultural innovations, but also for stimulating farmers to conduct their own experiments and adapt the technologies. Videos that focus on discovery learning (that tell viewers why something works) are easier to up-scale (take to wider areas). Video is suitable for showing events that happen over several years (e.g. the effects of soil erosion) or months (e.g. a cropping calendar).

Institutional setting: Video can be used for multiple objectives, and is an appropriate tool in most institutional settings. Video is appropriate as a training tool where farmers are organised, but can also be shown in loosely organised gatherings. Showing videos is easier where there is electricity, television, and internet, but technical change is rapidly making videos easier to watch off the grid. 


Videos can be integrated into pluralistic extension systems involving government, NGOs, farmer organisations, and the private sector. While many video projects are started by NGOs and international organisations, other service providers have integrated the videos into their programmes. Even people who do not make videos themselves can use videos in extension.

Evidence of impact and potential scalability

In studies of farmer-learning videos in Benin and Uganda, rice-growing communities could remember the contents of rice videos 5 years after viewing them and had made technical and institutional innovations (e.g. contacting extensionists to request rice seed). (2)
(2)  Zossou, E., Van Mele, P., Vodouhe, S.D. and Wanvoeke, J. 2010. Women groups formed in response to public video screenings on rice processing in Benin. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability 8(4): 270–277.
 Women’s groups in Benin that watched videos innovated more, and strengthened their groups to produce and sell parboiled rice. (3)
(3)  Bentley, J., Van Mele, P., Okry, F. and Zossou, E. 2014. Videos that speak for themselves: When non-extensionists show agricultural videos to large audiences. Development in Practice 24(7): 921–929.
 Ghanaian cocoa farmers trained through video viewing clubs had significantly improved knowledge of technical topics compared to a control group. (4)
(4)  David, S. and Asamoah, C. 2011. Video as a tool for agricultural extension in Africa: A case study from Ghana. International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology 7(1): 26–41.
Video is highly scalable even across regions and cultures (Box 2). Digital Green has reached 7,448 villages and over 640,000 community members in Ethiopia, Ghana, India and Tanzania. (5) Quality videos hosted on the Access Agriculture website have been used by over a thousand organisations and reached at least 897,000 farmers directly and another 45 million on television. The videos have been used in over 80 countries. (6)
(6)  See articles on extension hosted by Agro-Insight site.
 At local level, farmers will often show videos on their own initiative.  

Box 2: Video Case Studies

Digital Green has produced over 3700 participatory videos in more than 20 languages. The videos are unscripted, but made with a story board. Each video is filmed in one language and designed to be used in one local area. Local people are engaged to show the videos to other local people, facilitate discussion, and to record data on the viewers.

Access Agriculture has produced over 60 farmer learning videos with farmers, in 67 languages. A script is written with each video, to ease translation. The videos are shown by partners and are also placed on where they can be downloaded for free by extensionists or anyone else.

There are few initiatives designed to use videos on mobile phones, but VideoKheti is a Microsoft project that collaborates with Digital Green to allow villagers to find and watch agricultural videos on a mobile phone. The users can speak or touch the screen to navigate the text-free system, which has 147 videos. It was developed to be used in Hindi. An early study of 20 farmers found that it was difficult to use by people with little education. (7)

(7) Cuendet, S., Medhi, I., Bali, K. and Cutrell, E. 2013. VideoKheti: Making video content accessible to low-literate and novice users. Paris, France: CHI.