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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 cassava

Cassava is easy to grow and tolerates drought and heat well. Yet in recent years, its popularity has waned as many people, especially urban dwellers, think of cassava as a crop to be eaten only in desperate times. In short, it has an image problem. But recent research may change that. Scientists predict that, if temperatures in Africa rise as predicted, cassava will outperform other staples. If diseases such as wilt and cassava brown streak disease can be successfully tackled, cassava will become one of the best “climate change resilient” crops, researchers say. For more information, see: http://allafrica.com/stories/201202281289.html

For more information about the projects mentioned in this story, see:

http://consortium.cgiar.org/cassava-power-unleashed/

http://thecitizen.co.tz/news/51-other-news/8980-cassava-keeps-youth-away-from-cities.html

New disease-resistant varieties have recently been released in Tanzania: http://in2eastafrica.net/tanzania-new-disease-resistant-cassava-varieties-released/

Cassava can be processed into many products − cakes, pancakes, bread, pastry products and doughnuts. Read more here: http://practicalaction.org/cassava-processing

On the AgFax site, you can hear and download a recent audio file called “Cassava the drought beater”: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=445

The following Farm Radio International scripts talk about growing, storing, and processing cassava:
-Farmers experiment and discover: You can store cassava (Package 58, Script 9, January 2001) http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/58-9script_en.asp

-Woman farmer invents a cassava grinder (Package 49, Script 9, June 1998) http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/49-9script_en.asp
-Plant high quality cassava cuttings (Package 37, Script 1, July 1995) http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/37-1script_en.asp

You might also like to browse recent stories from Farm Radio Weekly on cassava:

-Uganda: Cassava Brown Streak Disease threatens yields (FRW 113, May 2010)  http://weekly.farmradio.org/2010/05/31/1-uganda-cassava-brown-streak-disease-threatens-yields-irin-new-vision/

Nigeria: Cassava “waste” is good food for goats (FRW 54, Feb 2009) http://weekly.farmradio.org/2009/02/02/nigeria-cassava-%E2%80%9Cwaste%E2%80%9D-is-good-food-for-goats-voa-news/

-Democratic Republic of the Congo: Province suffers outbreak of konzo, a preventable disease (FRW 104, March 2010) http://weekly.farmradio.org/2010/03/22/1democratic-republic-of-the-congo-province-suffers-outbreak-of-konzo-a-preventable-disease-irin-ccdnn-acp/

If you broadcast to a cassava growing area, you might want to produce a program focusing on one or two aspects of the crop. You could examine how farmers cope with disease, or whether cassava is a good cash crop. Or you could look at whether cassava has an “image problem” that causes people to prefer other staples like maize or rice. Try to talk to farmers and consumers as well as market traders and NGO or extension staff.

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