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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 organic farming

Organic production is widely-known for not using inputs such as chemical fertilizer or pesticides. In addition, organic farmers use practices which respect animal health and dignity, and maximize the use of on-farm resources to maintain soil fertility and natural pest control.

Many farmers in Africa grow their food organically, simply because they either have no access to or cannot afford non-organic inputs. However, some farmers produce organically as a clear choice – they do not want to use chemicals on their soils and plants, and believe that organic farming does less harm to the natural environment. Many believe the resulting produce tastes better and is healthier.

Alternatives to chemicals exist, and many are cheap and easy to produce from materials readily available in the house or on the farm. Examples include pest repellant sprays made from soap or chili, and animal manure or compost as an alternative to chemical fertilizer. When these materials are used in combination with other organic practices, many farmers find they no longer need chemical inputs to achieve good yields.

For more information on organic agriculture in Africa, visit the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement’s (IFOAM) site: http://www.ifoam.org/about_ifoam/around_world/aosc_pages/Key_statistics_on_OA_in_Africa.html

This pdf booklet provides information for farmers’ organizations interested in entering the organic export market: http://www.anancy.net/documents/file_en/Agrodok-48-Entering_the_organic_export_market.pdf


Some countries in Southern and Eastern Africa have organic farming organizations and networks where you can get more information and contacts:

Southern Africa: http://www.africanorganics.org/progsum.html

Kenya: http://www.koan.co.ke/

Tanzania: http://www.kilimohai.org/

Zambia: http://www.oppaz.org.zm/

Uganda: http://www.nogamu.org.ug/

Namibia: http://www.noa.org.na/

For a list of organizations affiliated with the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, categorized by country, see: http://www.ifoam.org/organic_world/directory/index.html

You may want to refer to these Farm Radio International scripts on organic farming and related practices:

Using compost as fertilizer gives good yields and conserves soil: A Participatory Radio Campaign in Ghana (Package 94, Script 5, December 2011) http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/94-5script_en.asp

-Tea for the soil: How manure tea feeds the soil (Package 91, Script 3, July 2010) http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/91-3script_en.asp

-Improve manure to make better fertilizer (Package 91, Script 7, July 2010) http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/91-7script_en.asp

-Farmers can earn income producing compost (Package 80, Script 3, March 2007) http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/80-3script_en.asp

-Kenyan farmer uses organic farming practices (Package 75, Script 7, June 2005) http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/75-7script_en.asp

Organic farming is a hotly debated topic among farmers, researchers and consumers. You could bring some of this debate to a radio show, perhaps as a roundtable discussion or as a question and answer show. Invite people who represent a variety of viewpoints, for example, an organic farmer, a “conventional” farmer, an agro-input salesman, or an NGO worker or agricultural researcher. Ask about the benefits of being certified as an organic farmer, but be sure to explain any challenges too. Ask whether there is a local or national market for organic food, and, if so, whether higher prices are available and justified. Try to ascertain what proportion of organic farming in your region is organic by default or by choice, and ask what difference these two approaches make to marketing, price and profit. Be prepared for a lively discussion!

One Response to “Notes to broadcasters on organic farming”

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