Virtual Field Tours Revolutionize Agriculture Information Dissemination in Kenya

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The VFT is an innovation by the CGIAR Regional Integrated Initiative for East and Southern Africa, Ukama Ustawi (UU) that enables live streaming and sharing of lessons from a field event with a global audience who may not be able to attend the events physically. Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT in collaboration with Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), Africa Conservation Tillage Network, County Government of Embu and other stakeholders in Kenya hosted the second VFT in Runyenjes Embu on November 3rd, 2023. The event was attended by over 230 people, 60% being women and over 50 others who connected and followed the event remotely through live streaming. The VFT offer opportunity of ensuring wide and inclusive reach, modernizing extension by using digital solutions, engaging the youth and managing the carbon footprint of participation at field events. In delivering the VFT, one has to take into consideration the needed technical expertise of setting up the media and streaming system, internet connectivity, access to the sites, availability of electricity as well as the weather conditions. This blog shares how the use of VFT can be an innovative approach to revolutionize the agriculture information delivery in East and Southern Africa.

The advent of the digital technology has seen a major shift in the way agricultural information in shared. Traditional extension relied on physical approaches such as farm to farm visits, technology demonstrations and field days. These approaches reach a limited number of beneficiaries, mainly the audience on the ground. Missing out at such physical events are thousands of audiences not able to attend the events. The use recorded and transmitted events such as radio and television enable reaching audience that are away. Approaches that combine both physical field events and virtual live streaming offer a chance for actors on site to benefit same to those following the agricultural events remotely. Live streaming enables instant interaction among the various audiences and adds spice to the learning.

What is a VFT?

The Virtual Field Tour (VFT), entails the research experts from the CGIAR and national research organization and the video crew going into the areas we work and live stream from there through an interactive online platform, allowing our virtual participants the opportunity to follow and engage actively with local stakeholders, partners and innovations.

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