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Social media to aid agricultural development

By Solomon Kalema

Added 20th August 2016 04:05 PM

It is important to stream live and report events as they happen. Being able to do that across your platforms instantly reaches an even wider audience.

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Zambian Social Media trainer Lwanga Mwilu

It is important to stream live and report events as they happen. Being able to do that across your platforms instantly reaches an even wider audience.

Through the new trends in online communication, rallying Africans to pursue development in agriculture can be made easy.

This was the highlight of a training on Friday by Zambian Social Media trainer Lwanga Mwilu at a meeting of media practitioners and AU press attaches from across Africa in the Zambian capital of Lusaka.

The faster the better

Through the day, participants were shown the basics of how to use popular platforms like facebook, twitter and Instagram.

New to this training were lessons on how to use platforms like storify that can share information across all the other platforms of the user’s choice with the click of a button.

According to Mwilu, there are numerous platforms of the same kind that the fourth estate should embrace in communicating agriculture-related issues among other topics.

“It is important to stream live and report events as they happen. Being able to do that across your platforms instantly reaches an even wider audience,” she said.

Key to reaching the youth

With the increased interest in coining money from business, African youth according to Mwilu are embracing social media platforms.

Samuel Onyenobia , a consultant with the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture at the AU Commission says the use of social media to showcase the business opportunities in agriculture to the youth will get them attracted.

“We can make a huge difference if we harness the advantages of social media. We also expect the youth to increase their uptake of agriculture and its value chains and one of the best ways to do that is to reach them on social media where we can share items like success stories,” he says.

Onyenobia believes that through social media, young people in Africa today are looking for ways to connect and develop networks across borders.

“Social media offers everyone an array of opportunities on all fronts. For the youth, they can also take advantage of the adverts that are put up by different organisations about opportunities in the field,” he says.

The training was aimed at equipping participants with basic tools to communicate the issues surrounding the implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) which in part calls on African countries to raise their budgetary allocations to agriculture to at least 10%.

Currently the AU Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture has a continental network of press attaches and media practitioners in Africa and beyond, all connected on social media platforms.

These platforms according to Grace Musimami, a member from Uganda have taken the outreach to a new efficient level.

“Social media has increased the visibility of the CAADP, with circulation of information for both national and continental information users,” Musimami says.

utukelwa ukelabai eputy irector of ational gricultural nformation ervices Mutukelwa Mukelabai Deputy Director of National Agricultural Information Services

 


The meeting in Lusaka was officially closed by Mutukelwa Mukelabai Deputy Director of National Agricultural Information Services (NAIS) in the Agriculture Ministry on Friday.

Mutukelwa expressed his appreciation of the AU communication strategy on behalf of the Zambian government and pledged to work with the team when needed to also boost the agricultural sector of Zambia.

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