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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 NERICA and indigenous rice:

Ten years ago, the Africa Rice Center (WARDA) developed a new hybrid rice, which is a cross between African and Asian varieties. Called New Rice for Africa, or NERICA, the hybrid rice was designed to overcome problems that commonly limit rice yields. It is drought tolerant and pest resistant. With fertilization, it is high yielding. It is also fast-maturing, a feature that interested the Liberian women’s cooperative in our news story.http://www.warda.org/warda/guide-compend.asp.
-For a critique of NERICA produced by the NGO GRAIN, go to: http://www.grain.org/nfg/?id=621.

NERICA has raised hopes for increased rice yields in Africa. But, like all crop varieties, it comes with potential benefits and risks. Without inputs such as chemical fertilizer, farmers may not obtain good yields from NERICA. And, since it is a hybrid, NERICA seeds must be purchased (while open-pollinated, indigenous seeds can be saved year after year).

You may consider hosting an on-air panel discussion among experts, including farmers, about traditional crops and the use of hybrids. Allow time for farmers to call or text-in to ask questions or describe their experiences. Some questions for discussion include:
-What are the area’s traditional crops? What are the benefits of these crops, such as adaptation to the land and climate, nutrition, taste, etc? Do many farmers still grow these crops, and on what scale?
-Do farmers in the area use hybrid seeds? Where are they purchased and how much do they cost? Are chemical inputs such as fertilizer and pesticides required to get good yields from these hybrids? What precautions should farmers take to protect their family’s food security when trying a new hybrid variety for the first time?

-For more information on NERICA, visit the WARDA website:Ten years ago, the Africa Rice Center (WARDA) developed a new hybrid rice, which is a cross between African and Asian varieties. Called New Rice for Africa, or NERICA, the hybrid rice was designed to overcome problems that commonly limit rice yields. It is drought tolerant and pest resistant. With fertilization, it is high yielding. It is also fast-maturing, a feature that interested the Liberian women’s cooperative in our news story.

NERICA has raised hopes for increased rice yields in Africa. But, like all crop varieties, it comes with potential benefits and risks. Without inputs such as chemical fertilizer, farmers may not obtain good yields from NERICA. And, since it is a hybrid, NERICA seeds must be purchased (while open-pollinated, indigenous seeds can be saved year after year).

You may consider hosting an on-air panel discussion among experts, including farmers, about traditional crops and the use of hybrids. Allow time for farmers to call or text-in to ask questions or describe their experiences. Some questions for discussion include:
-What are the area’s traditional crops? What are the benefits of these crops, such as adaptation to the land and climate, nutrition, taste, etc? Do many farmers still grow these crops, and on what scale?
-Do farmers in the area use hybrid seeds? Where are they purchased and how much do they cost? Are chemical inputs such as fertilizer and pesticides required to get good yields from these hybrids? What precautions should farmers take to protect their family’s food security when trying a new hybrid variety for the first time?

-For more information on NERICA, visit the WARDA website:

The following scripts about NERICA were produced as part of a CTA-Farm Radio scriptwriting competition African Farmers’ Strategies for Coping with Climate Change:
Growing NERICA is a farming solution for coping with climate change (Package 84, Script 2, August 2008)
New rice variety for Africa to save wetlands in Uganda (Package 84, Script 3, August 2008).
-For a critique of NERICA produced by the NGO GRAIN, go to: http://www.grain.org/nfg/?id=621.

The following scripts about NERICA were produced as part of a CTA-Farm Radio scriptwriting competition African Farmers’ Strategies for Coping with Climate Change:
Growing NERICA is a farming solution for coping with climate change (Package 84, Script 2, August 2008)
New rice variety for Africa to save wetlands in Uganda (Package 84, Script 3, August 2008)

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