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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: Sunflowers and cropping decisions

-Sunflowers were originally brought to Africa, via Europe, from their native area in the Americas. The plants produce seeds which are used as cooking ingredients, animal feeds and as a source of fibre for paper. But sunflowers seeds are particularly valuable for the oil they produce when crushed.

Mr. Odongo George found that he had to change crops in order to make a profit. This is not an uncommon situation. In issue #240, FRW highlighted the story of Mr. Timothy Mutobera, who chose to grow rice rather than the maize his family was used to eating. You can find the story here: http://weekly.farmradio.org/2013/03/24/kenya-upland-rice-gives-hope-to-small-scale-maize-farmers-by-sawa-pius-for-farm-radio-weekly-in-kenya/

Other farmers have discovered that the crops they were growing were not suitable, and have switched to crops which do better in their climate and conditions. Read about it here: http://weekly.farmradio.org/2009/11/09/3-africa-re-discovery-of-traditional-crops-helps-farmers-cope-with-climate-change-farm-radio-weekly/

A story from Farm Radio Weekly issue #45, November 2008, tells of a women’s initiative in Uganda that successfully marketed organic sunflower oil. It can be found here: http://weekly.farmradio.org/2008/11/24/uganda-women-farmers-drive-the-economy-with-sunflower-oil-by-sawa-pius-for-farm-radio-weekly-in-kampala-uganda/ and the Notes to broadcasters are available here: http://weekly.farmradio.org/2008/11/24/notes-to-broadcasters-on-sunflower-oil/

In this week’s story, Mr. Odongo also experimented with intercropping and started growing food for his own table. For more information on intercropping, and stories published by Farm Radio Weekly on the subject, read the Notes to broadcaster here: http://weekly.farmradio.org/2013/01/14/notes-to-broadcasters-on-intercropping-pigeon-peas/

Intercropping is a relatively easy, low-input, and low-cost technique that can improve soils, increase productivity, enhance on-farm and dietary diversity, and boost income. Certain kinds of crops work well together, such as cereals and legumes. Farmers may be interested to hear more about the science involved, and then experiment with their own crop mixtures. You could seek out an expert from an NGO or Ministry of Agriculture, as well as a farmer who has experience with intercropping, to air an informative, discussion-based radio show.

What crops do your listeners grow? Do they grow these out of tradition, or have they decided to grow something new because of a market opportunity? Where does your listening community get its information about what, or what not, to grow?

One Response to “Notes to broadcasters: Sunflowers and cropping decisions”

  1. Farm Radio Weekly » Farm Radio Weekly Archive » Notes to broadcasters: Cotton and choosing which crops to grow Says:

    […] In April, 2013, Farm Radio Weekly published a story from Uganda (“Small-scale farmers profit by switching from cotton to sunflowers, issue 242) in which cotton farmers increased their incomes by switching from their traditional crops. You can find it here: http://weekly.farmradio.org/2013/04/15/uganda-small-scale-farmers-profit-by-switching-from-cotton-to-sunflowers-by-geoffrey-ojok-for-farm-radio-weekly-in-uganda/. The accompanying Notes are available through this link: http://weekly.farmradio.org/2013/04/15/notes-to-broadcasters-sunflowers-and-cropping-decisions/ […]

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