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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: Cooperation and older farmers

“United we stand, divided we fall.” By getting together, people can wield greater power, and more opportunities will arise. In this article, several issues are raised. As broadcasters, you have an opportunity to explore any or all of them. For a basic introduction to farmers’ co-operatives, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agricultural_cooperative

You can also revisit a recent Notes to broadcasters on co-operatives: http://weekly.farmradio.org/2012/06/11/notes-to-broadcasters-on-co-operatives-3/

For World Food Day on October 16, 2012, the United Nations highlighted the role that agricultural co-operatives can play in strengthening farmers’ hands. A short sound bite is available at http://www.unmultimedia.org/radio/english/2012/10/world-food-day-highlights-role-of-agricultural-cooperatives-in-fighting-hunger/

A report from Ethiopia states that agricultural co-operatives support small-scale farmers and marginalized groups such as young people and women by pooling their resources: http://allafrica.com/stories/201210190202.html

Co-operatives have also proven to be an effective vehicle for social inclusion, promoting gender equality and encouraging the involvement of youth in agriculture: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?Cr=hunger&Cr1=&NewsID=43299#.UIU_74aLiSo

On this same topic, see this script from our script package 93, December 2011:

http://www.farmradio.org/radio-resource-packs/package-94-african-farm-radio-research-initiative-afrri/gender-mainstreaming-in-farmers-co-operative-groups-in-ghana-achieve-food-security-for-small-scale-farmers/

Small-scale farmers typically have poor access to markets, a lack of bargaining power, and a lack of access to financial services. Agricultural co-operatives can help small-scale farmers overcome these constraints: http://www.netnewspublisher.com/agricultural-cooperatives-could-expand-and-make-an-even-greater-contribution-against-poverty-and-hunger/

This script focuses on the potential benefits of agricultural co-ops. It can be found at http://weekly.farmradio.org/2011/01/10/%E2%80%98together-we-stand%E2%80%99-agricultural-co-operative-society/

Script package 94 contains eight scripts and an issue pack on co-operatives. The issue pack gives examples of co-operatives, background information on co-operatives, production ideas for programming on co-operatives, and further resources on co-operatives – organizations, audio files, print documents, and a video. You can find package 94 at http://www.farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/

For earlier scripts on co-operatives, go to:  http://www.farmradio.org/script-categories/cooperatives/

A recent story about an elderly South African farmer who continues to profit by carefully choosing suitable crops was featured in FRW issue #240. Read it here: http://weekly.farmradio.org/2013/03/24/south-africa-age-no-challenge-to-productive-woman-by-thuso-khumalo-for-farm-radio-weekly-in-south-africa/ The accompanying Notes to broadcasters can be found here: http://weekly.farmradio.org/2013/03/24/notes-to-broadcasters-older-farmers-and-their-farming-choices/

Do farmers in your area work together to obtain better market prices for their products, or purchase inputs as a co-operative? You may wish to find a farmers’ group and prepare a news story or arrange an on-air interview which profiles the group and their efforts.

-Who are the members of this group? Are they grouped by area, the type of crop they produce, etc.?

-Is there a mixture of young and old farmers? How do they get along? Who owns the resources? Is there a conflict between “age and experience” and “youth and energy”? If so, how are these issues dealt with?

-When did they come together? What were individual farmers’ experiences with processing and selling their crop prior to forming the group?

-Ask the members to describe in detail the procedures they use to process their goods, identify markets for their crops, gather them together, and sell them. Did they try other methods before determining that one method worked best?

-How much extra income do farmers earn as a result of group marketing, group processing, or group purchase of inputs? What are the other benefits of working together as a group (saving time, learning from each other, etc.)?

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