Commercial channels vs free distribution and screening of agricultural learning videos: A case study from Benin and Mali

Gérard C. Zoundji*, Florent Okry, Simplice D. Vodouhê, Jeffery W. Bentley, Loes Witteveen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Farmers' access to reliable information is crucial to improving rural livelihoods, food security, and national economies in West Africa. This paper discusses the dynamics of accessing and using agricultural learning videos from commercial channels, vs project and non-project channels in Benin and Mali. Using combinations of different models to assess the effectiveness of agricultural extension programs, the findings showed that farmers were motivated to pay for videos and watch them by themselves, without facilitation. Farmers who watched the videos through project support have also continued to watch on their own if the videos are of interest to them. Nevertheless, farmers were less motivated in the learning process when they received the Digital Video Disc (DVD) free and without support to watch them. We also found that the distribution of learning videos through commercial channels reaches more serious users and increases farmers' self-determination for learning, and farmers are more motivated to provide feedback than viewers who receive DVDs for free or via project support, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), or farmer organizations. Although buying a DVD is an individual action, they like to watch the videos in groups. After buying the DVD, about 43% of respondent borrowed DVD players and one person in five bought a DVD player to watch the videos. Efforts to promote improved technologies need to expand beyond the conventional focus on research and extension services. Support to agricultural technology dissemination must go beyond assistance to smallholder farmers and NGOs (practical implication). As the private sector has a role to play, both in making technologies available and in teaching farmers how to use them, their contribution would create space for innovation (theoretical implication). Our findings suggest that successful development intervention programs can be sell audiovisual material to farmers, who will use it proactively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)544-560
JournalExperimental Agriculture
Issue number4
Early online date1 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • Agricultural learning video
  • Development intervention programs
  • Food security


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