The media have played an instrumental role in agricultural transformation of Bangladesh in last 50 years. Starting with the state-owned TV channel and radio in the early days, reporters now use both print and electronic media to shape the agricultural sphere of the country. We now have 34 electronic media including 4 state-owned channels. Moreover, there are 42 radio stations, 23 commercial FMs, 18 community radios and big digital platforms. As per official records, there are 3165 print media in the country (Source: The Independent, 20 January 2020). Their role in agriculture is manifold. Primarily, reporters work as indirect agents of Agricultural Extension by disseminating information on new varieties, best practices, innovation, and technology. They have even introduced new crops, fruits, vegetables, and livestock in the country. They helped to popularize certain varieties and breeds. Another task of the media is to inform farmers about solutions for common problems. Infotainment reports and contents in the form of drama and documentaries have been effective in this regard. On the other hand, reporters connect the farmers with the policymakers by reporting certain on-field issues, challenges, and opportunities. For instance, pre-budget dialogue between farmers and key policymakers hosted by electronic media has become a regular event in recent years.
Our reporters and media have diversified our crops and livestock. The success stories reported by them have encouraged the young and educated population of our country to get involved in agriculture both as farmers and entrepreneurs. With the emergence of digital platforms like Facebook, YouTube and online portals, now anyone can start reporting on agriculture. However, to increase accuracy, proper training and knowledge on agriculture will be effective for the reporters which can be beneficial for our farmers. Some agricultural community radios are gaining popularity locally. We can now have a dedicated agricultural TV channel and radio at the national level. Also, the number of media and reporters involved in agriculture is increasing as well and they feel more interest to work on agriculture. We need to aggregate and curate the reports or contents created by them into broader categories for easier access. Apps like ‘Fosholi’ can introduce such ‘Media Watch’ features for further integration of our agricultural reporters and media into our transformational journey in agriculture.
Dr. F H Ansarey
Managing Director & CEO