Literacy Bridge’s agriculture research paper—Impact of Low-Cost, On-Demand Information Access in a Remote Ghanaian Village has been published in a special issue of Information Technologies & International Development (ITID) Journal, the top-ranked academic journal in the area of technology and global development.
The Talking Book agriculture program was piloted in Ving-Ving, a rural, remote village in the Upper West Region of Ghana, where there is no electricity, low literacy rate, and 95% of the residents are subsistence farmers. Messages about more efficient agriculture techniques, health practices, and educational stories in both English and the local language, were recorded onto the Talking Books, which were then distributed in the villages.
From August 2009 to January 2010, the research team consisting of Cliff Schmidt, Trina Jean Gorman, Michael Shayne Gary, and Andrew Azzabanye Bayor conducted qualitative and quantitative surveys to determine the impact of Talking Book on crop production in Ving-Ving. After interviewing over 100 people who had listened to the messages from Talking Book, the research team found out that farmers who had access to Talking Books and applied a new agriculture practice learned from Talking Books had an average increase in crop production of 48%, compared with non-user’s decrease of 5%. In addition, the statistical analysis also suggests that after controlling for a variety of other factors, farmers with access to information from the Talking Book produced 2.75 additional bags of crops compared to non-users, representing an 18% increase, on average.
Felix Braole is a farmer in Ving-Ving. He applied the agriculture messages he learned from Talking Book such as the importance of using animal manure as fertilizer, and creating beds and plow lanes for better moisture retention and more efficient use of soil. Felix showed us the difference between no Talking Book intervention and with intervention. Farmers like Felix who applied lessons learned from the Talking Book saw a significant increase in their crop yield. Farmers who did not use the Talking Book saw a decrease in crop yield.
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