Do you watch Shamba Shape Up

“I actually have an alarm set,” said Evah Kinyua, a farmer in Ngong, Kenya. “We have phone alarms for Saturday and Sunday. And one Sunday [the alarm] goes off in church, and then my husband whispers to me, ‘We have to leave for Shamba Shape Up.’”

Evah and her husband are far from the only Kenyans who plan their weekends around viewing Shamba Shape Up, East Africa’s longest running agricultural television series. The Mediae Company, which produces the popular program, estimates that the show reaches at least 8 million weekly viewers in both English and Kiswahili. Broadcasting on Citizen TV, Kenya’s leading television channel, Shamba Shape Up is a compelling reality “make-over” show — but with an educational bent.

The Shamba Shape Up production team travels to smallholder farms (“shambas”) across Kenya, educating farmers about improved farming methods, including climate adaptation measures and the importance of gender and financial inclusion. The program, which aired its 12th season in 2022, aims to increase viewers’ knowledge about good farming, nutrition, and financial practices, helping farmers improve their yields, incomes and livelihoods. Shamba Shape Up runs throughout the six-month growing season — March through September — and covers topics such as weather forecasting, drought resistant seed, fertilizer, irrigation, intercropping/crop rotation, pest/disease management, cattle rearing, poultry keeping, nutrition and access to finance.