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Farm Radio Weekly is a news and information service for rural radio broadcasters in sub-Saharan Africa. It is published by Farm Radio International.

Farm Radio Weekly

Notes to Broadcasters on flooding in southern Africa:

More frequent occurrences of flooding and drought have been documented across sub-Saharan Africa in recent years. While the heavy rains currently dousing southern Africa have been attributed to La Niña, increasingly erratic weather, including unexpected rainfall patterns and rising temperatures, is one component of climate change. As this story shows, the effects of climate change on rural communities can go beyond the immediate threats of destruction or degradation of agricultural lands. Pests and weeds that farmers may have learned to manage over time can behave differently in new climatic conditions, and some diseases may increase in incidence and range.

It is important for farmers and farming communities to know how to adapt to these climate changes and reduce the effects of disasters such as floods and drought. As you may know, DCFRN and CTA are holding a scriptwriting competition on African Farmers’ Strategies for Coping with Climate Change, designed to share information on adaptation practices, including water, soil, and livestock management and cropping strategies. As part of this competition, DCFRN has produced an information package on climate change designed for rural radio broadcasters. Details about the competition and the information package can be found online at: http://scriptcompetition.net/

You may also consider sharing local knowledge and practices for coping with climate change and natural disasters by hosting a call-in show or researching a local news story to address questions such as:
-what experiences have farmers in your area had with techniques such as soil management or short-cycle crops that can improve crop production even when weather conditions are poor?
-what resources are available for local farmers to learn more about climate change and the methods they can use to limit its impact on food production?
-what systems have communities in your area established to maintain food supplies in case a disaster such as a flood or drought destroys local crops?

If you broadcast to an area that the World Health Organization warns is at higher risk of malaria (this includes parts of Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, particularly in areas where seasonal or epidemic malaria are common), you may also consider investigating the availability of insecticide-treated bednets and anti-malaria drugs in your area. Farm Radio Weekly is researching ways for farmers to reduce mosquito breeding on their land in order to reduce the risk of malaria. We will endeavour to bring you this information in the next issue. If you know of any such tips, please share them with the FRW community by posting a comment to this story on FRW’s online site or e-mailing farmradioweekly@farmradio.org .
Finally, for information on soil management techniques that can help protect agricultural lands from heavy rains, please look at these DCFRN scripts:
-“Nature is never naked: The importance of mulch” (Package 75, Script 1, June 2005)
-“Soil Conservation Saves the Land, Even When a Hurricane Strikes” (Package 64, Script 4, July 2002)

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