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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 draught power:

It’s becoming well known that farmers have been hit hard by rising fuel prices. High fuel costs have made it more expensive to produce crops, by raising the price of chemical fertilizer, as well as other farm inputs and machinery that require transportation or that are made from petroleum products. They also raise the cost of transporting crops to market. In many cases, these elevated prices make it more difficult to for farmers to earn a living, even though they are able to sell food crops at high prices. This story shows that high fuel costs are encouraging farmers to use draught animal power instead of tractors. Rising food prices are also encouraging some livestock farmers to produce more of their own food, with the help of their animals.

The following articles describe additional trends in the use of draught animal power:
-“Trends in traction” by New Agriculturalist: http://www.new-agri.co.uk/03-4/focuson/focuson1.html
-“Draught animal power…an overview” by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization: http://www.fao.org/ag/ags/agse/chapterps1/chapterps1-e.htm

These Farm Radio International scripts look at the importance of adapting draught power attachments to suit the use, and the user:
“Smartly designed animal cart helps Sudanese farmer” (Package 80, Script 10, March 2007)
“Appropriate farming tools for African women farmers” (Package 82, Script 7, November 2007)

You may wish to explore the ways in which people in your area use draught power through a phone-in/text-in show or a locally-researched news story. Some questions to consider include:
-Which animals are commonly used for draught power in your area, and how are they used?
-What sorts of carts or cultivation attachments do locals use to make the most of draught power?
-What local resources are available to help farmers interested in experimenting with draught power, or learning to use draught power more efficiently?
-Have high fuel prices caused more farmers to consider draught power (as measured by farmers’ own reports or the reports of those who train or sell attachments to farmers)?
-Can you find farmers who can explain the many contributions made by draught animals, such as soil fertility and energy efficiency?

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