Vol. 111 No. 2 (2017)
Research Papers

Addressing challenges in communicating adaptation practices to smallholder farmers in Kenya through a radio intervention

Fiona Nyawira Mwaniki
James Cook University, Australia
Charity Gichuki
Meru University of Science and Technology
Maina Mwangi
Kenyatta University
Pamela Mburia
Kilimo Media International
Benson Wandago
Technical University of Mombasa

Published 2017-12-21

How to Cite

Mwaniki, F. N., Gichuki, C., Mwangi, M., Mburia, P., & Wandago, B. (2017). Addressing challenges in communicating adaptation practices to smallholder farmers in Kenya through a radio intervention. Journal of Agriculture and Environment for International Development (JAEID), 111(2), 279–322. https://doi.org/10.12895/jaeid.20172.589


Farmers in Africa are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change due to their high dependency on climate-sensitive natural resources. Kenyan farmers are faced with limited public agricultural extension services, narrowing their sources of useful information including adaptive strategies that would help them cope with the impacts of climate change. Radio can be an effective extension tool with the ability to reach many farmers in their local language. This study investigated the potential of radio in influencing the utilization of climate change information by farmers in Kilifi County, located along the Kenyan coast. Education and communication about climate change was undertaken using radio to make available and understandable information to different social and cultural groups. This study revealed that radio can effectively complement other agricultural extension methods and has the potential to engage farmers on climate change issues and motivate them to take action, if appropriate approaches are used. Although very few farmers (33%) reported to have listened to the programs, a high percentage (82%) of those who did implemented the recommended strategies and technologies they heard. The major challenges reported by farmers to accessing the radio programs were lack of a radio and unsuitable program timing. An additional reported challenge was the inability to store or record the programs resulting in farmers relying on their own recollection when implementing strategies. Further research should explore the use of social learning approaches that encourage group rather than individual listenership (such as community listening clubs and community-based radio schools) to overcome these challenges.