Agricultural Knowledge

Syrian Farmers Podcast project

This University of Sussex project is run in partnership with the Academic Centre for Development & Peace Studies (ACDP) Syrian Academic Expertise (SAE) Agricultural Network, supported by the Cara Syria Programme.

One of the most critical impacts of the Syrian conflict on agriculture has been the collapse of support services for farmers (so-called extension services) which, before 2011, were provided by the government. In addition, the ongoing conflict has added new economic challenges in terms of access to markets. This project aims to address some of these difficulties by drawing on Syrian agricultural expertise in Syrian and amongst those living in exile in Turkey, in order to support knowledge transfer to farmers in northwest Syria. The development and delivery of a podcast series will be piloted using appropriate technologies.

The project activities will be implemented over a 30-week period to start in Jan. 2021 within the following pilot sites: Afrin, Jarablus, Al Bab and Azaz districts.

  1. Phase 1: Set-up (Jan.-Feb. 2021) will see the purchase of the podcast equipment, identification of the project promoters and recruitment of the agricultural experts to develop and pilot the first 10 episodes of the podcast.
  2. Phase 2: Podcast Development, & Promotion (Feb-Apr. 2021) will see the preparation of the podcast episodes to be recorded in Arabic; the launch of the project on social media; identification of the best examples of international sustainability practices in agri-food value chains; and, the sharing of additional relevant information through regular postings, e.g. blogs, tweets, and Facebook, through a dedicated University of Sussex (UK) Project website and the ACDP-SAE website, which will host the podcast pilot. A podcast smartphone application will be designed in parallel, which will allow farmers to access the podcast series through their mobile phones.
  3. Phase 3: Promotion, Recording & Broadcast of Podcast Pilot Series (May-Jun. 2021) will see the promotion of the app and the podcast amongst over 500 Syrian farmers, local NGOs and agricultural associations in the pilot sites through the ACDP-SAE Network members’ connections. Local promoters, enlisted to support and promote this initiative, will instruct farmers on how to download the app to access the podcast and subscribe to the user community (free of charge).

The 10 pilot Podcast episodes, recorded in Arabic, will be made available through the Project App and the ACDP-SAE website, with an English and Arabic transcription.

Following the broadcast, a remote phone survey of farmers will be carried out, to obtain feedback and build a better understanding of farmers’ interests and needs, as well as any issues arising in relation to the podcast. The survey data will be used to inform future post-pilot podcast content, as well as to identify the most effective channels through which to promote future episodes beyond the pilot sites and communities.

  1. Phase 4: Pilot Evaluation Workshop and Dissemination (Jul. 2021) will see the evaluation of the Podcast pilot and its impact, the dissemination survey findings, and initial planning for the continuation of the Podcast series and future partnerships.

For further information:

Please contact Dr. Mirela Barbu, Project Principal Investigator (University of Sussex) M.E.Barbu@sussex.ac.uk, Dr. Shaher Abdullateef, Project Coordinator (ACDP-SAE) shaher.a@sae.org.


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Syrian academics expertise for Agriculture and Food Security (SAE-AFS) is a group of independent Syrian academics and experts in agricultural science..

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