Date Posted: June 9th, 2008
This past week, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO’s) summit on food security turned the attention of world leaders, and the world media, towards small-scale farmers. Occurring in the wake of a massive hike in staple food prices that many refer to as a “food crisis,” the meeting became a place to discuss how more food could be produced globally, especially in countries where food has become unaffordable to many people.
Farm Radio Weekly staff followed the conference through audio files on the FAO website and coverage in alternative media such as World Social Forum TV. We were looking for the voice of the African farmer but found that, although farmer representatives were present, their perspective was lost when it came to the final summit declaration. Leaders from groups representing small-scale producers in West and East Africa suggested that African countries must move away from market liberalization and use farmer subsidies and import barriers to protect their markets and ensure local food supplies. We have a story from our newest correspondent, Joshua Kyalimpa, in Kampala, Uganda, that offers an example of how a protectionist agricultural policy – one that rejects the principles of market liberalization – has led to a rapid rise in Ugandan rice production in the past few years.
Trade policies and their impact on farmers are always rich topics for discussion and debate. We invite you to use materials from this week’s FRW to generate discussion on your airwaves and to visit the FRW website (http://weekly.farmradio.org/) to post comments and share insights with other FRW readers.
Finally we would like to welcome the newest members to the FRW community – new subscribers, John Yvon Mutombo, from Jeunesse en Mission pour Christ, in South, Africa, Pungu Lukombe, from Radio Télévision Amani, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as 10 new subscribers from Uganda! Please remember to share FRW with any colleagues who may enjoy it, by e-mailing articles or inviting them to subscribe at: http://www.farmradio.org/english/partners/fr_weekly_subscribe.asp.
-The Farm Radio Weekly Team