Building farmers' capacity through participatory video production


Digital Green is an Indian organization that promotes participatory video production to build farmers' capacity on sustainable agriculture and allied livelihood interventions. The use of information and communication technology is combined with social organization to broaden community participation and improve cost-effectiveness of existing agricultural extension services.




Professional Assistance for Development Action (PRADAN), Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty (SERP), Action for Social Advancement (ASA), Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Ministry of Rural Development Government of India



Overview of activities:

Digital Green operates since 2006 in India, using the video as its tool in reaching farmers. Specifically, the components of the Digital Green system include: (1) a participatory process for local video production; (2) a human-mediated instruction model for video dissemination and training; (3) a hardware and software technology platform for exchanging data in areas with limited Internet and electrical grid connectivity; and (4) an iterative model to progressively better address the needs and interests of the community with analytical tools and interactive phone-based feedback channels.


The videos are recorded by local participants and Digital Green staff, capturing dialogue and activities between local extension agents and local farmers, or just among local farmers. A variety of videos addressing the same practices are recorded but with different settings and involving different farmers. Indian farmers are trained to act in their own videos and demonstrate an agricultural practice that is relevant to their local area. Using their local language makes the videos simple and accessible also for illiterate farmers, who watching the videos can be inspired by fellow farmers in similar circumstances.

Digital Green has an extensive collection of videos on sustainable agricultural practices. These materials are produced by scientists from government institutions, NGO experts, field staff, farmers, and volunteers in the local community which are then reviewed by experts to ensure accuracy and comprehensiveness of content, among others. Partners of Digital Green produce 10-15 videos with 8-10 minute segments monthly which showcase farmers' testimonials and field demonstrations.

Videos are disseminated to villages in DVDs. Using television and DVD player or a low-cost, battery operated pico projector, that is able to work in areas with limited electricity, videos are shown in public places such as bus stands, temples, schoolhouses, and streets by the numerous extension agencies that Digital Green partners with. Groups of 10-20 farmers gather for the screenings, which are usually held at night. Extensionists and local facilitators show videos and continue discussion to boost the long-term effectiveness of the program as well as adoption rates. To facilitate institutional sharing of content, Digital Green also provides a database of all these videos in its website. 

Major impact:

Digital Green operates in 1200 villages of India, reaching over 100,000 farmers with approximately 80 videos shown daily. An impact study conducted in Southern Karnataka over 15 months (covering 21 villages with 1,000 regular viewers and participants) showed that Digital Green approach leads to adoption 7 times more often than traditional extension programs do. Digital Green has been found to be 10 times as effective, per dollar spent, in converting farmers to better farming practices than classical approaches to agricultural extension.


Rikin Gandhi, Chief Executive Officer, Headquarters-Delhi -

For more information and press enquiries, email or visit the website where you can also download a fact sheet.

Photo credit: Digital Green