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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

Niger: Young farmer succeeds with chickens (Souleymane Maâzou, for Farm Radio Weekly)

Every morning, Maman Lawal jumps onto his motorbike and makes an important delivery to the local market – eggs.

Mr. Lawal inherited one hectare of land from his father on the outskirts of Niamey, Niger’s capital city. The 28-year-old poultry farmer wears a constant smile.

Mr. Lawal built a mud brick barn in the middle of his land. There is a large opening in every side of the barn to provide ventilation; troughs of food and water are placed on the white sand-covered floor. The field outside his barn is planted with millet, which Mr. Lawal grows to feed his small family − his mother, two brothers, and an uncle.

But Mr. Lawal has not always been a farmer. He thought of growing crops and raising livestock as things only for those with nothing better to do. He recalls, “I started farming and raising chickens in 2011, after I escaped the civil war in Libya.”

He started his farm with 53 chickens and 18 roosters purchased from farmers in and around Niamey. Three years later, Mr. Lawal has increased by nearly tenfold his laying flock.

Now, his farm gives him a sense of well-being and a comfortable position in local society. He earns between 30,000 and 40,000 Ouest African francs [$62-83 US] a day by selling eggs and chickens. Since his fame as a chicken farmer has increased, customers come from all over Niamey. He has no desire now to earn his living in any other way.

Mr. Lawal began by feeding his chickens millet and sorghum. Now he adds oilseed cake, peanuts, and poultry feeds he buys from the local veterinary outlet. A livestock agent vaccinates his flock against disease once a month.

Mr. Lawal wants to modernize his business by creating a company and employing other young people. He says, “I need equipment to disinfect the barn, an incubator, other breeds of chickens, and ingredients to make my own poultry feeds.”

The young farmer has inspired other young people, including Amadou Kollé. Mr. Kollé explains: “Mr. Lawal’s success with raising chickens has really fascinated me. I am going to get into [this business]. That is why, from time to time, I come to ask him for his advice.”

In order to grow his business, Mr. Lawal has applied for a loan from a local microfinance institution. Once the loan is granted, he will be able to buy the equipment he needs to increase his income and profits.

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Uganda: Farmer’s life brightened by sunflowers (By Geoffrey Ojok, for Farm Radio Weekly)

Dan Mawaki started his business in 2012 by buying sunflower seeds, paying 1000 Ugandan shillings (38 US cents) per kilo. He planned to sell the seeds and earn enough income to meet his domestic needs. But his efforts fell short.

Later, Mr. Mawaki learned that sunflower oil is more valuable than the seeds from which it is produced. So he began adding value to the sunflower seeds. He realized that it would be more cost-effective to grow his own sunflowers. So, in 2013, he started growing sunflowers. He mills the seeds and sells the resulting cooking oil and sunflower cake. He says, “It was one of the best decisions I have made in my life.”

Mr. Mawaki lives in Busiro village, Bulambuli district, about 280 kilometres east of the capital, Kampala.

Today, Mr. Mawaki’s products are popular in the region. He grows about one and a half hectares of sunflowers and harvests nearly 900 kilos of seeds every three months. Each harvest earns him 2,800,000 Ugandan shillings [$1,088 US].

Mr. Mawaki used his profits to buy a milling machine. He says: “Sunflower is a multi-purpose crop, but it’s mainly used to make vegetable oil. When one plants sunflower, there is little to worry about because, [if] the soils are good, there isn’t any need for fertilizers.”

Before preparing and planting his land, he carefully selects the seeds, removing the rotten ones. It is important to weed at the right time and harvest when the seeds are ready. Mr. Mawaki prefers to grow varieties which dry quickly and are easy to mill.

His milling machine can produce 25-30 litres of cooking oil a day. He sells 20 litres of oil for 85,000 shillings [$33 US]. He also makes pellets from the residue, which he sells to poultry farmers for 550 shillings [21 US cents] per kilo. Commonly called seed cake, the pellets are an important and nutritious livestock feed.

Mr. Mawaki has ready markets for these products. His cooking oil and seed cake sell out as soon as they are milled.

Dollie Nankya is a poultry farmer who lives close to Mr. Mawaki’s farm. She buys his seed cake for her chickens. She says: “It’s cheap for me to buy the cake from Mawaki because I don’t need to pay for any transport … [cake costs] 600 shillings per kilogram in Bulambuli town, and it’s eight kilometres from my home.”

Mr. Mawaki says there has been an almost unbelievable change in his life. He was impoverished a few years ago. But now he employs three workers, and can afford the fees for his two sons to attend Busitema University, where they study agriculture.

With some satisfaction, he says, “I am settled because [I] am able to meet my daily needs.”

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FRW news in brief

Farm Radio Weekly has a new trial resource for you: Farmer news briefs. These are stories from across the continent which have been adapted from print or online sources and are suitable for use in your regular farm radio program. Read them, edit them, broadcast them, localize them, or simply use them as background info. Want more details? Click the link under the story to see the original article.

Please let us know what you think. Do you want to see Farmer news briefs in Farm Radio Weekly on a regular basis? Email us at farmradioweekly@farmradio.org

1-Zambia: Refugees find a home

Three refugees from Angola’s 33-year-long civil war were recently granted permanent resident status in Zambia.

Ten thousand Angolan refugees may now qualify for resident status and, ultimately, Zambian citizenship. African Union officials hope that Zambia’s government will offer the same deal to 4,000 Rwandans who fled the 1994 genocide, and to refugees who fled liberation wars and persecution in other southern African countries.

The UNHCR views Zambia as an exemplary country for welcoming those facing violence and giving them a place to call home. The country is seeking $21 million US in financial support for its refugee integration projects.

To read the full article, go to: http://allafrica.com/stories/201406181021.html

2-Uganda: Travelling testimonies

Makerere University’s Refugee Law Project has been travelling through Uganda to collect testimonies from “veterans, ex-combatants and other war-affected men, women and children.”

The objective of the Travelling Testimonies project is to tell the stories of war-affected communities in Uganda. The project displays photographs and mementos which tell the stories of Ugandans affected by conflicts other than the war against the Lord’s Resistance Army in northern Uganda.

Travelling Testimonies will be on display until July 26 at the Makerere University Art Gallery in Kampala, Uganda.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.ipsnews.net/2014/06/travelling-testimonies-ugandas-first-mobile-exhibition-to-document-conflicts-other-than-the-lra-war/

3-South Sudan: Poaching threatens country’s wildlife

Conservation officials say government and rebel forces are killing and eating wildlife.

Wildlife officials have abandoned their posts because of the drawn-out conflict, allowing militia forces and civilians to kill wildlife in game parks and wildlife reserves. Several game species are being killed to provide bushmeat for soldiers. Elephants are also being killed for meat and ivory.

Officials from South Sudan’s Ministry of Tourism say that if the country’s wildlife were sustainably managed, tourism could contribute up to 10 per cent of South Sudan’s GDP within 10 years.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.ipsnews.net/2014/06/south-sudans-wildlife-become-casualties-war-killed-feed-soldiers-rebels/

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Open for entries: UN contest for digital professionals

The World Summit Youth Award (WSYA) is a global contest that brings together young digital entrepreneurs and developers. It aims to put the UN Millennium Development Goals into action and make a difference.

Designers, producers, application developers, journalists and writers interested in digital media and development are encouraged to submit their work. The competition is open to anyone younger than 30 (born after January 1, 1984) who wants to present a project in one of WSYA’s six categories.

The categories are: extreme poverty, hunger and disease; access to education; women’s empowerment; culture; environmental protection and sustainability; and, quality and multimedia journalism.

The project can be in any language, but the application form must be completed in English.

Eighteen winners will become part of the global WSYA network and will be invited to the WSYA Winners’ Event from November 28 to December 1, 2014, in São Paulo, Brazil.

The winners will have the opportunity to present their project on an international stage, make important contacts, and build a strong network with representatives of the private sector, government, media and civil society.

For more details on the rules and regulations of WSYA, go to: http://youthaward.org/content/contest_rules

Applications must be received by July 15, 2014.

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Search for Common Ground handbook: Target audiences for peacebuilding radio

Creators of radio programs can either make a conflict worse − because they are not clear about their objectives − or they can help find a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

By target their programs towards a particular group − the target audience – broadcasters can help affected communities, regions or countries find and progress along a more peaceful path.

Search for Common Ground has devised a training manual entitled Target audiences for peacebuilding. The manual aims to help broadcasters clarify the target audience for a particular program and design programs to achieve the greatest influence.

The 19-page document is available as a PDF file, and can be downloaded from this address: http://www.sfcg.org/programmes/rfpa/pdf/201010TargetAudience_EN_color.pdf

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Farm Radio International blog: Audio postcards

One of FRI’s methods of communicating its work is through audio postcards.

The concept is simple: a postcard-like photo shows a scene of farmers or radio broadcasters, or even an FRI broadcasting partner at work. The picture is accompanied by a soundtrack which explains the work going on, the conversation, the moment.

Our latest postcards include Teaching new technologies can be tough at times, but always rewarding, in which FRI’s Nathaniel Ofori describes some of the work he does with radio stations in Ghana. You can listen to it here: http://www.farmradio.org/ourblog/2014/07/07/audio-postcard-teaching-new-technologies-may-be-tough-at-times-but-always-rewarding/

In Tanzanian cassava co-operative triples harvest by listening to the radio, FRI’s Executive Director Kevin Perkins describes how a radio series produced by one of FRI’s partner radio stations, Pride FM, helped co-operative producer groups improve their cassava production and marketing. You can find that postcard here: http://www.farmradio.org/ourblog/2014/06/02/audio-postcard-tanzanian-farmers-boost-cassava-harvest-through-local-broadcaster-programming/

Check out FRI’s blog for up-to-date information on what we are doing to raise the profile of small-scale African farmers on the continent and around the world! You can find all of FRI’s audio postcards and other communications at: http://www.farmradio.org/ourblog/

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Adventures of Neddy: A community animal health worker helps a village manage Newcastle disease

This week’s story from Niger focuses on chickens. Chickens are very easy to keep for several reasons. First, they can grazie freely on readily available foods. They also reproduce easily. But chickens are susceptible to a major disease which is the focus of our script of the week: Newcastle disease.

Though there is no cure for Newcastle disease, there is a preventive vaccine. Farmers fail to regularly vaccinate their chickens because of lack of knowledge or because the vaccine is expensive. Often, the drug is sold in large bottles which can treat several hundred chickens. This is very expensive for farmers who have only a few animals. And that is why community vaccination for chickens by community animal health workers or paravets is a great idea.

This script is a mini-drama which highlights the need to vaccinate chickens against Newcastle disease and the benefits of having a paravet in your community.


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Finding effective ways to improve your farming

Welcome to another bumper issue of Farm Radio Weekly! In issue #295, we feature stories on cotton farmers in Cameroon, exotic chickens in Uganda, and a Maasai community radio station in Tanzania.

Semi-arid northern Cameroon suffers extended annual dry periods. These conditions have left farmers with degraded and infertile soils. Now some farmers have started to use minimum tillage techniques to conserve moisture and restore fertility.

Northern Ugandans have been excited about the benefits of exotic breeds of chickens. But caring for and feeding the birds has exasperated some of the less experienced farmers and chased them from the market. As the supply of eggs drops, the price is going up, and some farmers can expect to cash in!

Community radio stations are popular with their listeners, though Tanzanian authorities are not keen on local language broadcasts. A new community station has been granted permission to broadcast to the Maasai community in the north of the country. The station caters to the needs of local people and brings friends together to listen.

It can be difficult to find effective ways to engage communities in dialogue. Radio stations have a responsibility to identity possible areas of friction and address them appropriately. Have a look at the Resource section, where you’ll find links to a handy online guide to communication strategies.

Keep those airwaves buzzing!

the Farm Radio Weekly team

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Cameroon: Cotton farmer adapts farming practices to counter soil infertility (by Anne Mireille Nzouankeu, for Farm Radio Weekly)

Irema Badjouma stands in front of a pile of harvested white cotton bolls, bends down to pick up his cotton and carries it to a nearby storage area. Mr. Badjouma and other cotton farmers in the village of Yina have gathered their harvests and are waiting patiently for buyers to purchase their cotton.

The cotton season has just ended in Yina, a village in the Far North region of Cameroon. But cotton has not always been a successful crop here. The region shares its eastern border with Chad and is part of the Sahel, where the dry season lasts for three-quarters of the year.

Mr. Badjouma has grown cotton for 12 years on two hectares of land he inherited from his father. But four years ago, he harvested barely half a tonne per hectare. He says, “I do not know exactly what happened but the harvest began to decline to the point where [...] I thought about giving up on [cotton].”

Amidou Bello is an agricultural extension agent from the local farmers’ organization. Mr. Badjouma asked the extensionist what crop he could grow instead of cotton. The farmer remembers: “He plied me with many questions about how I farm, my fertilizer program, which insecticides … After an hour, he encouraged me to continue cotton production, but to try different practices.”

Mr. Badjouma explains the changes he made to his farming practices. He says: “After I have harvested [the cotton bolls], I leave the [old] stems in the field. When I plant [the next crop], I put the seeds directly into the ground without having first tilled the soil as I used to.”

This technique is known as direct seeding through a cover crop. Mr. Bello explains, “Direct seeding through a cover crop is recommended for less fertile soils, and especially in semi-arid areas like this.”

The extension agent says that this technique is well-suited to the degraded soils of the Sahel. He adds, “The residues of the previous crop gradually decompose and become organic fertilizer. They also [help the soil] retain moisture even when it rains very little.” As time goes by, the soil regenerates without the need for chemical fertilizers.

Mr. Bello says the benefits of the technique usually increase over time. Growers should harvest about 10 per cent more in the second year of direct seeding, and yields can improve by as much as 20 per cent in subsequent years.

Mr. Badjouma started direct seeding three years ago. He says, “The first year, I saw no change. But since last year, I have seen an increase in my production. This encourages me to continue with this method.”

However, Mr. Badjouma is not yet convinced of the method’s benefits. He is withholding judgement at least until his harvest reaches previous levels. Last year, Mr. Badjouma harvested 1,200 kilograms. This year, he collected 1,400 kilograms. As he inspects his pile of cotton, Mr. Badjouma says, “It is still small, but it’s slightly bigger.”

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Uganda: Farmers fall foul of exotic chickens (by Denis Ongeng, for Farm Radio Weekly)

Grace Ogwang Enoka has always kept chickens for meat and eggs, like her family before her. The family raised local breeds of chickens and other poultry for food and for income to buy essential goods.

In 2007, the Ugandan government launched the Northern Uganda Social Action Fund, or NUSAF. One facet of NUSAF was an egg production project. Farmers were encouraged to start keeping exotic chicken, especially layer hens.

Mrs. Ogwang lives in the town of Lira in northern Uganda, 320 kilometres north of Kampala. The 55-year-old mother of eight is a beneficiary of the NUSAF project. Until recently, she kept exotic birds to increase her household income.

Mrs. Ogwang recalls, “After attending a meeting organized by the project officers, I asked for 200 chicks. Many birds died in the first week of their arrival.” She adds, “Taking care of the birds was very demanding.”

Many farmers started keeping exotic layer chickens. As a result, more eggs were supplied to the market. Exotic breeds mature earlier, and often lay more eggs for a longer period of time.

But by the end of the first phase of the project in 2009, the situation had changed. Many farmers did not have the experience to successfully raise exotic chickens. Gradually, over the following years, they became discouraged and abandoned poultry raising.

Mrs. Ogwang says, “I walked out of the project. The demand [on my time] was high. Besides, the veterinary officer would visit our farm irregularly.” Getting quality feeds was another challenge.

Ojok Sam is another farmer who found it difficult to keep up with the program. He says, “The feed for the chickens was very expensive; I could not afford it.”

Many farmers had similar experiences and pulled out of commercial poultry keeping. The supply of eggs dwindled and local markets experienced shortages. Indigenous chicken breeds, which take longer to mature and lay for a shorter period, cannot produce enough eggs to meet market demand.

But the situation is not all bad. Richard Okwir is a poultry farmer in the town of Lira. He successfully manages a flock of exotic birds and sells feeds as a sideline. He says many farmers were put off by past failures and ongoing challenges, and are reluctant to return to commercial poultry. He adds, “As of now, eggs are transported for over 100 miles from Mbale district, in eastern Uganda.”

The drop in local supply has increased the price of a tray of 30 eggs by one-third to 8,500 Ugandan shillings [$3.30 US].

Mr. Okwir is encouraging farmers to take advantage of these high prices. He is trying to build the confidence of northern Ugandan farmers by training them how to farm poultry successfully.

Mr. Okwir has trained local farmers how to make feeds themselves with local ingredients. He says that good quality feeds are important for successfully raising exotic birds and, with a bit of knowledge, farmers can overcome this challenge.

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Tanzania: Loliondo FM − bringing a community together (by Adam Bemma, for Farm Radio Weekly)

Taking a break from the midday sun under a tree, Mindey Ndoinyo tunes the radio on his mobile phone to 107.7 Loliondo FM. The 20-year-old lives in a remote Maasai village called Ololosokwan, 15 kilometres south of the border with Kenya.

Mr. Ndoinyo is joined by two friends dressed in traditional red and black Maasai robes. The men fall silent as they listen to the music and chattering voices coming from the phone’s loudspeaker. Mr. Ndoinyo says: “I like to listen to music and news on the Maisha Mix program. I also enjoy the Maasai cultural program and the environmental lessons it teaches us.”

Loliondo FM is the first and only radio station broadcasting from Tanzania’s Ngorongoro district. Founded in 2013, the mandate of the non-commercial, community radio station is to provide a voice to Tanzania’s pastoralist and agro-pastoralist communities.

The villages of Loliondo division are located in Ngorongoro district, north of Ngorongoro Crater and east of Serengeti National Park, two of Tanzania’s major tourist attractions. Local land disputes involving international investors have created a huge rift between Maasai herders and the Tanzanian government, making headlines around the world.

After a protracted two-year application process, Loliondo FM received its licence and started broadcasting last November. The tensions around land ownership disputes made the authorities wary of granting the licence. Joseph Munga is Loliondo FM’s Station Manager. He says: “In Tanzania, political leaders have a problem with community radio because it speaks from the grassroots. This scares leaders in our country.”

Across the border in Kenya, radio stations are allowed to broadcast in the language of their choice. For a long time, the only radio voices villagers heard late in the evening were in Swahili from the Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation and a Maasai language station in Kenya.

Broadcasting regulations are different in Tanzania. Mr. Munga explains: “There’s a government regulation that we broadcast in Swahili, not in our Maasai language, so [that] we don’t promote conflict between different tribes or spread hate.”

Broadcasters on Loliondo FM do speak Maasai from time to time. Many callers cannot speak Swahili, and news reports are translated for these listeners one hour after the original broadcast. The station’s news service focuses on both its own community and on broader Tanzanian affairs.

Musa Leitura is a Loliondo FM broadcaster who was born and raised with his four brothers and two sisters in Ololosokwan. The 28-year-old says, “I’ve been trained by UNESCO as a community journalist. I’ve attended workshops on investigative journalism, ethics and corruption.”

He adds: “I like being a presenter because now I’m a leader in the community. The radio is a great channel to create harmony between clashing tribes, and to educate everyone in Loliondo.”

As Mr. Ndoinyo’s mobile phone battery weakens, the group of friends move off to borrow a radio from a local shop owner and continue listening to Loliondo FM.

Mr. Ndoinyo says: “Ngorongoro district is isolated. We don’t receive newspapers in Ololosokwan village. Many people listen to the radio to get information.”

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FRW news in brief

Farm Radio Weekly has a new trial resource for you: Farmer news briefs. These are stories from across the continent which have been adapted from print or online sources and are suitable for use in your regular farm radio program. Read them, edit them, broadcast them, localize them, or simply use them as background info. Want more details? Click the link under the story to see the original article.

Please let us know what you think. Do you want to see Farmer news briefs in Farm Radio Weekly on a regular basis? Email us at farmradioweekly@farmradio.org

1-Zimbabwe: Children not being tested for HIV

Zimbabwean children who lack parental permission to undergo HIV testing are being turned away from clinics, and many do not come back.

The UN’s Development Program found that 200,000 Zimbabweans between 10 and 14 years of age are living with HIV. The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine reports that children between six and 15 years old are not getting adequate HIV testing and counselling.

In Zimbabwe, a child under 16 years of age must be accompanied by a consenting legal guardian to receive testing. The government is being urged to change its guidelines and to increase awareness of the high prevalence of HIV in children.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.irinnews.org/report/100185/young-zimbabweans-miss-out-on-hiv-testing

2-South Sudan: Children suffering from lack of education

One and a half million people have been displaced in South Sudan since the fighting between government and rebel forces began last December. About half of these are children.

According to the international NGO Save the Children, families are fleeing from camps for Internally Displaced People, or IDP camps, and taking their children across borders. Refugee camps often have better provision for children’s education than IDP camps.

Since the fighting began, more than 110,000 children in South Sudan have received only emergency education. As of May 2014, the education service had received 32 per cent of its required funding, far behind health at 52% and mine clearance, which has received 74% of needed funds.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.irinnews.org/report/100210/amid-the-violence-education-suffers-in-south-sudan

3-Djibouti: UN warns of drought

A UN official in Djibouti says the tiny Horn of Africa nation is confronting its fourth consecutive year of drought.

The city of Djibouti is facing a huge influx of people fleeing disease and malnutrition in the countryside. The UN Resident Coordinator for Djibouti, Robert Watkins, is appealing to donor countries to help meet the UN appeal for $74 million US.

Mr. Watkins says the biggest issue facing people in Djibouti is the lack of water. A countrywide water shortage has caused many cattle to perish. Unless rehydration centres are supported, many people may die from dehydration.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.trust.org/item/20140612171432-vg3vo/?source=jtOtherNews3

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Call for applications: The journalist to journalist lung health media training fellowship

The National Press Foundation is offering all-expenses-paid fellowships for journalists to cover the 45th Union World Conference on Tuberculosis and Lung Health in Barcelona, Spain from October 27-November 1, 2014.

Journalists with at least three years of experience, including covering health issues, and who are interested in learning more about covering lung health, can apply for the fellowship.

Pre-conference training sessions run from October 27-29, and journalist fellows will continue to participate until the end of the conference on November 1.

The training and conference covers lung health and related issues, including tuberculosis, TB/HIV, asthma, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), diabetes, tobacco control and the impact of air pollution. Journalists will learn about these diseases, the extent and impact of the problems they present, and the new research, solutions and innovations that are in the pipeline. The sessions also include practical training on turning scientific information into effective web, print and broadcast stories.

The fellowships cover conference registration, travel expenses, hotel accommodation and per diems.

Special attention will be given to applications from journalists in low- and middle-income countries. All sessions will be conducted in English, so proficiency in spoken and written English is essential.

The deadline for applications is July 18, 2014.

For more information, go to: http://nationalpress.org/programs-and-resources/program/lung-health-media-training-barcelona-spain-2014/

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Strategic communication for peacebuilding: a training guide

According to research carried out in western and central Africa by the NGO Search for Common Ground through its project, Radio: a platform for Peacebuilding (www.radiopeaceafrica.org), few governments are successfully communicating their policies to their citizens. There is a risk, therefore, that policies will not take hold, essential reforms will not occur, and conflicts will increase.

Search for Common Ground’s handbook, Strategic communications for peacebuilding, is designed to increase the knowledge and skills of radio broadcasters, particularly youth radio broadcasters. It also aims to identify and address complex and potentially divisive issues; to educate government officials on the importance of open and effective communication with communities; and to increase communication between civil society and policy-makers about government policies and decisions.

The handbook states that communication should be a two-way process, from government to people and back again, and between one section of society and another. The guide offers an approach to communication which creates an open space for dialogue on different levels and between different groups.

The guide is available free for download at this address: http://www.sfcg.org/programmes/rfpa/pdf/20100315trainingGuideEngFinal.pdf

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Save the date: Farmer e-course and competition returns!

Farm Radio International is excited to announce that its new online e-course and competition for radio broadcasters will begin in September.

Do you have a regular farmer program that you want to improve? Are you thinking about starting a farmer program but don’t know where to begin? This course will teach radio broadcasters how to make engaging, entertaining and informative farmer radio programs.

Participants will learn about storytelling, how to keep a show interesting, and how best to address the issues their audience finds important.

A new component in this year’s course covers Information and Communication Technologies, or ICTs. Participants will be given tools and training on how to reach out to their audience through mobile phones and polls – and an opportunity to try them out!

The Farmer program e-course and competition will run 12 weeks, beginning September 15, 2014. Course materials will be in English. The e-course and competition is open to radio broadcasters who are part of a radio station team in sub-Saharan Africa, and who did not participate in the 2012 e-course training. This course is offered in collaboration with the Commonwealth of Learning and the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD).

At the end of the course, participants can enter the competition by submitting a program design. There are exciting prizes available for the winners!

Stay tuned for more information, as registration will open in a few weeks’ time.

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To market, to market – Episode 2: A glut in the market: How supply and demand affect prices

This week’s story about raising chickens in Uganda mentions that, as supplies dwindle, market prices often rise.

Our script of the week is the second part of a five-part series on understanding and using market information. One of the critical benefits of having accurate information about the market is that farmers can then decide what crops to grow, and where and when to sell those crops in order to receive the best prices.

This script illustrates the laws of supply and demand. If there are large quantities of a certain product in the market – more supply than people can or will buy – prices usually decrease. On the other hand, if demand is high or supply is low – in other words, if people want more of a product than is available – prices frequently rise. Prices are often determined by how much of a product is available for sale at any given time.


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Kenya: Community project restores forest livelihoods (by Sawa Pius, for Farm Radio Weekly)

Zakaria Lihanda Masheti has lived next to Iloro forest since he was a child. His household is one of an estimated 5,000 that directly depend on the forest for a living. The 70-year old has witnessed the community gradually destroy the 490-hectare forest by burning charcoal, grazing animals, collecting fuelwood and  natural herbs, hunting, and other activities.

But thanks to a 40-year carbon credit project, the forest has started to recover over the last few years. The project, called Msitu tena (Swahili for Forest again) is operated by the Muileshi Community Forest Association. The organization signed an agreement with the Kenya Forest Service to manage the forest, and also with ECO2 Librium, an NGO that helps market carbon credits internationally.

For Mr. Zakaria, the project is more than just a blessing to the community; it’s also a source of income. Along with other community members, he has been planting indigenous trees. Local people raise seedlings and sell them to the project. The project employs them to mark out areas for planting and dig planting holes for the young trees, paying the locals cash for their work.

Mr. Zakaria says, “I have even managed to buy a dairy cow and paid school fees for my child, who has now almost completed secondary education.”

Sylvester Imbwaga is the secretary of the Muileshi Forest Association. He says about 120 community members are employed by the rehabilitation project. Each earns between 3,500 and 8,000 Kenyan shillings ($40-90 US), depending on the number of days worked.

Mr. Imbwaga adds: “We want to reduce the pressure on the forest. Everybody around the forest uses it for survival.”

Meshack Amalemba lives beside the forest. He welcomes the project and says it will bring back the forest’s lost glory. He says that herbs, birds, snakes, bees, and other animals were lost when the forest was cleared in the 1960s. He adds, “We are maintaining this not for ourselves but for our future generations.”

Perhaps the most important aspect of the project is the money that will be generated through the sale of carbon credits. Companies whose activities produce polluting gases such as carbon dioxide can buy carbon credits. These carbon credits are then used to pay communities to plant trees or undertake other activities which reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. The trees capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and trap carbon in their trunks, branches and roots as they grow.

Carbon credit is a big business internationally, and a source of income for communities to channel into environmentally beneficial actions. The Msitu tena project will raise 200 million Kenyan shillings (close to $23,000 US). The community will split that money with ECO2 Librium and the Kenya Forest Service.

Christopher Amutabi works for ECO2 Librium. He says the project will be required to achieve specific targets. Over the 40-year life of the project, it must improve livelihoods, result in greater biodiversity and improve the conservation of the area.

In order for local people to receive their carbon money, they must plant trees and protect them until they mature. Other activities have already been introduced to help locals protect the forest. Beekeeping, fish farming, dairy cow projects, raising tree saplings, and energy-saving stoves are all proving popular. Future activities include raising snakes and developing tourism.

A total of 182 hectares of the forest have been replanted. It is expected that the whole 490-hectare area will have been rehabilitated in just a few years.

Mr. Imbwaga says there are plans to distribute milk coolers in the community, and to package and sell maize flour. The association has bought juicing machines to produce guava juice. He says, “All these are aimed at creating employment for the community.”

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Uganda: Village savings scheme improves widow’s life (By Geoffrey Ojok, for Farm Radio Weekly)

Terefina Ayo stands in her field of maize and recalls the problems she and her fellow villagers used to face. Food was scarce and housing poor. The 54-year-old had difficulty affording her son’s school fees. Even the basic necessities of life were hard to come by.

But that has all changed. Mrs. Ayo says, “Acamanaros Village Savings and Loans Association [AVSLA] has made all the difference.”

Mrs. Ayo lives in Olio sub-county in the eastern district of Serere, about 200 kilometres from Kampala. Her savings and loans association meets every Saturday and issues small loans to members. Members use the loans to buy farming inputs such as improved seeds or to invest the money in small businesses.

Sarah Atim says the savings scheme increased her income. The 35-year-old mother of four explains: “In addition to the bull I bought to help me plough more land in March this year, I used the money that I borrowed from the association to start a small business.” Mrs. Atim buys maize from farmers and re-sells it to larger buyers.

Michael Okello is the chairperson of AVSLA. He says, “Before giving a loan, we access the reasons given by the borrower [for wanting a loan] and [assess their] ability to repay.”

He adds, “Farmers now have the money they need to invest in their crops because loan interest is never higher than 10 per cent.” As a result of these investments, households now produce increased amounts of maize, sorghum, cassava and groundnuts for sale.

Albert Emukeu is a trainer for village banks in Serere district. He says, “There are 150 VSLA in Serere district but Acamanaros VSLA ranks as one of the best.”

The association’s greatest achievements have been improving links between farmers and buyers, and getting higher prices for members’ farm products. Members bring their produce to the association warehouse after harvest, and then committee members seek out buyers offering better prices for bulk sales.

Like many of the members, Mrs. Ayo has successfully tackled the problems she once faced. She has expanded her maize acreage with support from AVSLA.

She says: “Besides [setting up] my produce business, I used the money I borrowed from the association to pay school fees for my son, Charles, to go to Serere Royal Academy and take his Ordinary level exams. I am happy that he will join a building and carpentry course next year.”

Editors’ note: Acamanaros is the Ateso word forLet us agree.”

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Zimbabwe: Woman farmer on the rise (IRIN)

Ella Mubayiwa was a beneficiary of the Third Chimurenga, as the 2000 land reform program was known in Zimbabwe. The 60-year-old widow and mother of four had been living abroad, but was encouraged by her mother to return to Zimbabwe and claim land.

Mrs. Mubayiwa says, “I was in England after finishing a degree in business administration … when I heard that the president had authorized the reclamation of our land. We were bussed to different parts of the country and had the pick of the land.”

Mrs. Mubayiwa acquired a 99-year lease on a 35-hectare farm in Nyabira, about 30 kilometres west of the capital, Harare. Hers was one of 38 households resettled in 2000 on a former white-owned farm.

At first, she had to hire tractors because she had no other way to work her land. She began growing tobacco as a cash crop. By 2012, she was able to afford a tractor.

She still faces challenges accessing capital to finance her farm activities. Banks do not accept the 99-year government leases as collateral for loans. The lease gives leaseholders the right to farm state land, but does not grant them ownership of the land.

Mrs. Mubayiwa ventured into raising livestock, but was not successful – her four cattle died. Fortunately, her luck began to turn when she was chosen to be part of a government pilot project to produce maize seed. The project is operated by the government’s Scientific and Industrial Research and Development Centre, or SIRDC.

Edith Mazhawidza is the president of the Women Farmers Association. She negotiated a partnership between SIRDC and 11 female farmers. The farmers will produce SIRDC-developed maize seed on 200 hectares of plots across Zimbabwe.

Mrs. Mazhawidza says, “[SIRDC] supply seed, fertilizer and technical know-how.” The women are contractually bound to sell their harvest to SIRDC. After deducting the cost of inputs, the women are paid the difference. Growing maize seed is highly rewarding. A tonne of seed fetches up to $660 US, compared to $390 US for a tonne of maize grown for the dinner table.

Mrs. Mubayiwa is producing a promising crop of maize seed on 15 hectares. She says, “I am hopeful that because of the good rains, I’ll get a good harvest. I hope to double the hectarage next year.” She expects to harvest five tonnes per hectare.

Mrs. Mubayiwa employs 10 full-time workers who live on the farm with their families, and hires 15 seasonal labourers. She pays full-time workers $75 US a month and provides them with basic foods.

Her success at producing maize seed has encouraged her to use her house in Harare as collateral for a loan. She no longer wants to commute and wants to build a house on the farm. She also wants to install an irrigation system.

Mrs. Mubayiwa says: “I used to be wary of ceding the title deeds of my house to the bank as security because of the uncertainty of the rains … [but] the rainy season was good this year so I am willing to take a chance. I want to be a full-time farmer.”

To read the full article on which this story was based, go to: http://www.irinnews.org/report/100135/zimbabwe-s-women-farmers-on-the-rise

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FRW news in brief

Farm Radio Weekly has a new trial resource for you: Farmer news briefs. These are stories from across the continent which have been adapted from print or online sources and are suitable for use in your regular farm radio program. Read them, edit them, broadcast them, localize them, or simply use them as background info. Want more details? Click the link under the story to see the original article.

Please let us know what you think. Do you want to see Farmer news briefs in Farm Radio Weekly on a regular basis? Email us at farmradioweekly@farmradio.org

1-Eritrea: Fleeing forced labour

The UN Human Rights Council is calling on the Eritrean government to stop a program which is causing an exodus of refugees and spawning human rights violations.

Sheila Keetharuth is leading a UN investigation into human rights in Eritrea. She wrote that torture, sexualized violence and extra-judicial killings are continuing unabated under the regime of President Isaias Afwerki.

The report states that the government’s national service program is an indefinite conscription that amounts to forced labour. Many people are put to work in reforestation, soil and water conservation, and reconstruction efforts. An estimated 2,000 people flee Eritrea each month, according to UNHCR.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.trust.org/item/20140527133126-lmv3i/?source=jtOtherNews2

2-Somalia: Refugees return from Kenya

Amnesty International has criticized the Kenyan government for the “illegal deportation” of Somalis to Mogadishu during its counter-terrorism operation.

The Somali government has protested the treatment of its nationals, many of whom are refugees in Kenya. Over the last two months, many Somalis have been arrested and deported by Kenyan authorities.

The governments of Somalia and Kenya, along with the UNHCR, signed an agreement last year concerning the voluntary repatriation of Somali nationals. Somalia’s Foreign Affairs Minister has now refused to meet with Kenyan officials to discuss implementing the agreement.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.trust.org/item/20140527115235-1higl/?source=jtOtherNews2

3-South Sudan: Pastoralists homeless after fleeing conflict

Sudanese pastoralists and farmers affected by the fighting in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state have returned to their original homelands in Sennar state, Sudan.

The state’s governor has marked two villages as resettlement sites for the nomads and farmers. But the displaced people face challenges in accessing water, education and other basic services. Some complain that plots are not being properly distributed by state authorities.

Pastoralists and farmers are calling on the Sudanese government to help them rebuild their livelihoods, which were lost during the conflict across the border in South Sudan.

To read the full article, go to: https://radiotamazuj.org/en/article/sennar-pastoralists-face-challenges-after-fleeing-south-sudan-fighting

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