How to discover best practices in African agricutlure and farming
One best practice seems to be the use of radio outreach programs to current and potential farmers:
Many farmers in Ghana have been reluctant to experiment with new crops, but after listening to radio programmes on these stations, they have now decided to give it a try. They tune into the show to hear farmers and government agricultural extension officers offer advice on where to buy the seeds, how to prepare the soil, when to plant, and how to tend the fields.
In Africa, many governments lack resources to educate farmers about new agricultural practices and technologies that can help them increase their productivity and incomes. There are inadequate agricultural extension officers, hence inadequate opportunities for farmers to interact with them for services. But more than 70 percent of Africa’s rural population has access to radio, making it a reliable way to reach farmers.
In 2007, Farm Radio International, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, launched the African Farm Radio Research Initiative (AFRRI), a project aimed at exploring how to use radio to help rural farmers improve their lives. Working with five partner radio stations in Tanzania, Uganda, Mali, Ghana, and Malawi, Farm Radio has already reached 39 million farmers, providing information on disease-resistant crops, composting, animal housing, soil and water management, and a range of other vital agricultural issues.
(source: All Africa)
Here is a video from Bart Sullivan of Farm Radio which explains what they do, how the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation helped them, and how they are setting up feedback loops to make their services more effective in furthering agricultural development in Africa.