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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 new varieties

This story tells how farmers in Guinea have benefitted from growing a new variety of tomato. The new variety was developed according to farmer’s needs, and suits local conditions well. In fact, it has been such a success that markets are becoming saturated. This can be a danger with any successful crop. Prices may drop, so farmers should ensure that they can rely on other crops or incomes. On-farm diversity benefits farmers and the environment in many ways. In this situation, growing a variety of crops can act as a cushion against one crop failing, or remaining unsold.

For technical details of the Moungal variety (in French only) see: http://technisem.com/index.php?m=0&lang=fr&rub=3&opt=3&cat_prod=95

In French only, here is the website of the research centre which developed the tomato variety: http://www.irag-guinee.org/index.php?query=irag&id=institut&target=centre&rub=region&region=foulaya

Here are some recent stories from Farm Radio Weekly on tomatoes, and also on biodiversity:

Madagascar: Women blend agriculture with forest restoration (FRW 112, May 2010) http://weekly.farmradio.org/2010/05/24/2-madagascar-women-blend-agriculture-with-forest-restoration-ips-gender-links/

Rwanda: Don’t waste your waste! Farmers use human urine as fertilizer (FRW 124, August 2010)

http://weekly.farmradio.org/2010/08/23/3-rwanda-don%E2%80%99t-waste-your-waste-farmers-use-human-urine-as-fertilizer-syfia-grands-lacs/

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Farmers learn rainy season techniques from across the border (FRW 106, April 2010)

http://weekly.farmradio.org/2010/04/12/1-democratic-republic-of-the-congo-farmers-learn-rainy-season-techniques-from-across-the-border-syfia-grands-lacs/

Browse Farm Radio International’s archive of scripts on biodiversity here: http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/biodiversity.asp

This story may inspire you to produce a program on the advantages and disadvantages of growing new varieties. Here are some general questions to get your research started. You could interview farmers, seed merchants, researchers or NGO staff.

-Under what circumstances are new varieties beneficial?

-What benefits have farmers seen with new varieties?

-Why do farmers choose newly bred varieties?

-What are the main drawbacks – for example, do farmers need to buy seed each year?

-Are any farmers returning to traditional varieties instead of seeking seeds of new varieties?

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