In November 2016, GeoPoll surveyed 1,051 farmers in Ghana to understand how interactive rural radio programming affects the uptake of promoted maize and rice practices. The survey, commissioned by Farm Radio International, polled maize and rice farmers from Brong Ahafo and Volta regions about key topics, including seed access and variety, planting and harvesting practices, sources of trusted farming information, and radio listenership.

With the data collected, GeoPoll compared the current practices of both radio listeners and non-listeners in order to understand the relationship between radio program exposure and level of practice.

To conduct the survey, GeoPoll utilized its database of more than 10 million mobile network subscribers in Ghana to target 488 maize farmers in Brong Ahafo and 563 rice farmers in Volta. Survey invitations were initially sent to a random sample in the GeoPoll database and recipients were then asked to complete several simple screening questions to determine eligibility. Collected data was disaggregated by gender, age, location, and radio listenership.

An analysis of data found a strong correlation between radio listenership and quality farming practices. Maize farmers who listened to rural radio programming were approximately 28 percent more likely to dry their maize on tarpaulin compared to non-listeners, while rice farmers were 20 percent more likely to use fertilizer compared to non-listeners. Additional findings include:

  • More than half of the respondents—63 percent of maize farmers and 66 percent of rice farmers—listen to the interactive rural radio programming.
  • The majority of maize farmers (76 percent) and nearly half of rice farmers (48 percent) reported to use the promoted practice of row planting.
  • About one-third of respondents—30 percent of maize farmers and 34 percent of rice farmers –use hybrid seeds.
  • More than half of maize farmers (61 percent) store their seeds in Purdue Improved Crop Storage (PICS) bags and practiced the improved method of drying maize on a tarpaulin (73 percent).
  • Almost three-fourths of rice farmers (71 percent) fertilize their crops.
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The data supports Farm Radio International programming in the New Alliance ICT Extension Challenge project funded by USAID.

Survey Specifications

  • Locations surveyed: Brong Ahafo and Volta regions in Ghana
  • Languages: English, Asante Twi, and Ewe
  • Mode: SMS
  • Questionnaire length: 21 questions
  • Sampling frame and approach: men and women, radio listeners and non-listeners, maize farmers from Brong Ahafo and rice farmers from Volta, drawn from GeoPoll’s user database
  • Total sample size: 1,051
  • Fieldwork duration: 3 days