MEAS Case study # 6: The Story of a Video on Mechanical Seeders in Bangladesh
“If we are convinced, we will buy it”
Videos for sharing ideas with farmers are becoming more common. Yet the video makers often receive little or no feedback from viewers. In a previous study for MEAS in Uganda, the authors found that farmers learned a lot from videos that were left in their communities, where people could watch them over and over (Bentley et al 2013). Here we report on an experience in Bangladesh where there was a great effort to leave farmer learning videos in the hands of volunteer video hosts, including tea stall owners and machine dealers.
The video in question is called “Save more, grow more, earn more” (see www.accessagriculture.org/node/949/en). It is an unusual type of extension video because it was designed as a promotional rather than a training video. It was supposed to promote a new technology and create demand for it, not to show the audience how to use the innovations: strip tillage and bed planting with machine (see Appendix 1). Both of these planting styles conserve precious soil and water and save labor, which matters because wages are on the rise. The only problem is that the strip tillers are made in China and the bed planters are made in Bangladesh, but in small quantities. Eventually, both machines can be mass produced in Bangladesh. But for the time being, they are only available in limited numbers.
One solution is a project to create demand for the machines while encouraging dealers to import them. The promotional video was thus created to show the machines to farmers, especially those who owned two-wheeled tractors, to which the machines can be attached (see Appendix 1). From October to December 2012, Tim Krupnik of CIMMYT hired Harun-ar-Rashid and his staff at Agricultural Advisory Services, AAS, to show the video in villages to farmers. They reached more than 85,000 farmers (Harun-ar-Rashid, 2013).
Some of the villages also saw demo plots of the tillage innovations. The “Save more, …” video was included on a DVD with four other videos on rice seed health, which had been made in with IRRI in Bangladesh in 2003. Those who received the DVD were asked specifically to show the “Save More” video, while the rice videos were not mentioned.
AAS screened the machinery video in 332 communities in 11 districts. Seventy-eight percent of the audience was male. Wherever AAS showed “Save more, …” it left a copy of the DVD for the folks to watch again. They could also watch the rice seed videos if they noticed them on the menu and were interested. AAS left DVDs with tea stalls, NGOs, CBOs and many others. AAS gave out 1,258 DVDs and helped establish 27 strip tillage demo plots.
This is a case study of 12 groups of people and organizations (volunteer video hosts) that accepted copies of the DVD and six leaflets on the subject. The study asks several quantitative and qualitative questions.