Information should be used for people’s development

Following is an interview done by LEISA India team with Mr.Ananda Teertha Pyati – Reporter, Prajavani, a local daily in Karnataka

Are you a farm reporter or a general reporter? How often you write about agriculture in your paper. Is there a special/specific column/supplement which focuses on agriculture? If so what is the frequency?
I am general reporter. There is no separate post for Farm reporting in our publication. I have been writing farm articles since seven years. Before I join this daily, I had written many articles on farming. Yes, our daily paper carries a supplement for agriculture articles on two pages every Thursday.

Generally what is the nature of agriculture information published in your paper? Is it mostly conventional/chemical agriculture or do you also give importance to alternative methods. For alternative agriculture what is your source of information?
Initially all types of agri info were published. But now it is focusing on Organic and Natural Farming. But writers like me always have been writing on conventional/ organic/ natural way of farming. My article source is always FARMERS’ EXPERIENCE. Sometime I’ll take scientific validation from researchers or scientists. But I give more and more stress farmers work/ effort than any other TYPICAL RESEARCH. Most of my articles projects, farmer as scientists.

How have you used the content of LEISA India – Can you mention some specific ideas/concepts which you have used.
When ever I write an analytical article about farming, I will use the part of article appeared in LEISA. For ex: I wrote the article, what is the concept of sustainable agriculture. In that, I used some farmer’s friendly methods of controlling the pest and decease, which were published in LEISA. I wrote seed bank project write up, which had contained some info of LEISA’s article

Do you get feedback from farmers/others on the agriculture information?
Yes, Usually I’ll give contact phone number at the end of the article. This will help farmers/ people to get more information about the work of a farmer. After one or two weeks, the farmer which has been highlighted in my article tells me the impact. For ex: When I wrote an article about pro-farmer scientist Rudraradhya (his project ‘One Acre Farming’ had been published in LEISA India long ago), he received minimum 1,000 phone calls! He told me that, more than 5,000 farmers visited his project area.

A larger question – do farmers get back to you saying that the information published was used practically on fields. I think this is something a person associated in any type of media would be interested to know – whether information exchange is leading to desirable changes.
Information we gave to people should be used for their development. This means that, the information should be easy to understand, to be implemented easily. But now a day’s articles are published with ‘decorative words’! When someone wrote about VANILLA, all farmers rushed to grow Vanilla. But it’ll not grow at hot places. This simple thing has been avoided in article. Result: Now there are lots of farmers who are suffering from losses. Again some media men came and told (in their articles) the situation of Vanilla. Result: Many farmers decided not to grow Vanilla.
Coming to your question- many farmers contacted the farmer (of my article), and took guidance from him. The farmer won’t tell me directly; but I got feedback from other source.