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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 land pressure in the Congo

Pressure on land is common in urban areas, and increasing in rural areas. There are many causes, including inequitable systems of land ownership or land management, as described in this week’s story from the Republic of Congo.

A UN report from 2010 called “Access to land and the right to food” details some of the causes of pressure on land, including speculative investment, expansion of biofuel plantings, sale or lease of agricultural land to foreign countries, environmental degradation, and growing population. You can read a summary of the report here, and also link to the full text: http://peopleandplanet.net/?lid=29423&topic=23&section=34

Here’s a script which describes a different kind of solution in urban areas to the problem of lack of land:

Women use ‘hanging gardens’ to grow vegetables and solve land crisis (Package 90, Script 8, April 2010). http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/90-8script_en.asp

Here are two FRW stories on farmers’ response to a lack of land for farming:

Kenya: Urban agriculture greens metropolis (FRW 40, October 2008.)  http://weekly.farmradio.org/2008/10/13/2-kenya-urban-agriculture-greens-metropolis-the-east-african-un-integrated-regional-information-network/

Senegal: Rural women demand improved access to farmland (FRW #91, December 2009) http://weekly.farmradio.org/2009/12/07/2-senegal-rural-women-demand-improved-access-to-farmland-ips/

You might also want to check out the Notes to Broadcasters on this urban agriculture story at: http://weekly.farmradio.org/2008/10/13/notes-to-broadcasters-on-urban-agriculture-2/

One major challenge for farmers, especially women farmers, is lack of secure land tenure. Lack of secure ownership can mean that farmland is sold for urban development or other uses, which may lead to situations such as the one described in this week’s story.

Here are two scripts and one FRW story which consider different aspects of women’s right to land.

Land Ownership Rights: Access Denied: Why Women Need Access to Land (Package 57, Script 9, October 2000) http://www.farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/57-9script_en.asp

Women, Property and Inheritance (Package 73, Script 4, January 2005) http://www.farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/73-4script_en.asp

Swaziland: Landmark ruling gives Swazi women property rights (FRW 103, March 2010) http://weekly.farmradio.org/2010/03/15/1-swaziland-landmark-ruling-gives-swazi-women-property-rights-ips-irin/

Here are the Notes to Broadcasters for the FRW story on women’s land rights: http://weekly.farmradio.org/2010/03/15/notes-to-broadcasters-on-women%E2%80%99s-land-rights-3/

Talk to farmers, local officials and politicians, land developers, farmers’ groups, and extension agents. Ask whether there is pressure on farmland in your listening area.

People with different personal and financial interests may have different perspectives on this issue. Gather different opinions, and ask people what they think might be causing the pressure on land.

You could also ask them what should be done about the pressure on land.

Should agricultural land be protected? If so, how?

Find out also about the situation in your area related to land ownership. Do small-scale farmers own the land they live on and farm? Do they have a secure title? Or do they enjoy customary rights? Are these customary rights respected and recognized by the government and by courts?

You could host a roundtable discussion, inviting those with differing opinions to debate the future of land use in your listening area. Invite listeners to call in, ask questions, and tell their own stories.

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