PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti – With eight hundred thousand large and small farmers out of a population of nine million Haiti is said to have a vibrant agriculture sector. However among the longstanding challenges facing the sector is slow pace of information flow between policy makers, producers and the public.
In order to overcome this information deficit, officials in this CARICOM Member State’s largest development organization have formed a partnership with two leading radio stations on which they broadcast information on agriculture.
News of this was revealed by Mr. Talot Bertrand, Secretary-General of Promotion pour le Developpement (PRODEV), an umbrella development organization in Haiti that plans and implements projects in the areas of Agriculture, Environment, Education and Community Development. The information was shared at a media seminar on “The Role of Media in Agricultural and Rural Development” sponsored by the Netherlands based Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), a specialist agency of the Africa Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states group which concluded in Belgium on 15 October 2009.
“Radio is a very big medium in Haiti. and there are at least 500 radio stations. Based on our research we have found that if we need to get information on agriculture to people working in agriculture then radio is the means by which to do this,” said Mr. Bertrand.
He explained that his organization had developed a partnership with one radio station in the south of the island and another in the north.
“The station in the north is a community station with 1.5 million listeners and the one in the south is a gospel station with 3 million listeners. Since agriculture in Haiti is rural based, we have to use the medium – which is radio- that most producers in the agriculture sector listen to,” he added.
He informed that Haiti was similar to other CARICOM Member States where there were few journalists who specialized in agriculture. As a result he said PRODEV reached out to the radio stations with listeners who were involved in agriculture and where programs on agriculture already existed.
Mr. Bertrand added that his organization’s partnership with the two radio stations had proved to be successful and that plans were already in place to reach out to other radio stations in Haiti. He said PRODEV would continue to focus on radio stations in the north and south of the island as these were areas in which agriculture in Haiti is concentrated.