The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Peanut and SAWBO (Scientific Animations Without Borders) have released the first of two animations highlighting peanut production practices that bring the highest yield and best quality groundnuts. The animations specifically address production in Malawi, but are broad enough to be used elsewhere.
“We have worked with visualizations for a few years, and realized how powerful infographics can be to relay or re-enforce information without the limitation of language,” said Dave Hoisington, the director of the Peanut Innovation Lab. “Expanding that idea into full animations seemed like a natural extension of that work, and having a resource like SAWBO available, we decided to work with that team.”
In just under 4 minutes, the first animation demonstrates and explains the most important production practices for good yield – including choosing good soil, testing seed germination and planting at a good density.
A second animation currently in production will review important advice about how to determine maturity and harvest time and then how to dry and store peanuts properly to avoid aflatoxin contamination.
“These animations are to stress important production practices that have been proven through experience and research, but that smallholder farmers don’t always know or follow,” said Jamie Rhoads, the assistant director of the lab. “As the narrator says in the first animation, ‘groundnut is a resilient and nutritious crop that can give you a good yield if you follow a few simple actions.’ ”
The lab began planning for the animations by surveying agricultural researchers, agro-business professionals and extension specialists in Malawi early this year. The survey asked their opinions about what information is most important for farmers to know, as well as what gaps they see in farmers’ knowledge. That feedback was used to make a voice-over script, then graphics artists went to work bringing the lessons to life.
The animation was recorded in English, as well as Chichewa, the local language, and in both male and female voices.
Enumerators working for the lab will survey viewers to see whether their impression of the advice, as well as their memory of the details, is affected by the gender of the speaker.
While the videos will be presented at educational events, trainings and meetings, they might also be shared through social media.
“While we translate our infographics in numerous local languages, we always think about how they can relay information without language. We’ve done that here and hope that the resource is useful to all sorts of people who work with groundnut,” Hoisington said.