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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.

Issue #30

Welcome to all!

We welcome you all to the 30th issue of Farm Radio Weekly. We are happy to extend a special greeting to our newest subscribers, Richard Ekotu from Voice of Teso in Uganda and Adetoun Zenani Adebogun from the NGO, African Refugees Foundation, in Nigeria.

Through FRW, we love to bring you news stories about farmers overcoming obstacles to improve or maintain their livelihoods. From Senegal, we have the story of farmers who had tried a number of methods to irrigate crops during the dry season, but found them too costly or inefficient. Now, they have found a low-cost technology that was developed in another dryland country – and many have doubled their profits. From Botswana, we have a profile of a woman who left school at a young age and became a single mother. She invested two bags of maize she had earned working on a commercial farm and established a successful crop and livestock operation.

We hope that these stories inspire you to investigate the challenges and triumphs of farmers in your area. If you would like to share the story of a successful farmer or farmers’ group in your area with the FRW audience, please e-mail FRW Editor Heather Miller to pitch your idea.

Finally, don’t forget to drop by the FRW website (http://weekly.farmradio.org/) to post a comment and share your thoughts on this week’s issue.

Happy reading!

-The Farm Radio Weekly Team

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In this week’s Farm Radio Weekly:

African Farm News in Review

1. Senegal: Drip irrigation boosts dry season production (Christian Science Monitor)

2. Botswana: Single woman farmer is an advocate for others (Mmegi/The Reporter)

Upcoming Events

August 22, 2008: Recently-announced deadline for One World fellowship

Radio Resource Bank

Resource kit on women in micro-enterprises – now available in French

Farm Radio Action

Farm Radio’s Managing Editor to meet with partners in West Africa

Farm Radio Script of the Week

Supply water directly to plant roots with pitcher and drip irrigation

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Senegal: Drip irrigation boosts dry season production (Christian Science Monitor)

In Dap Dior, Senegal, a small group of villagers sits around a pile of freshly harvested groundnut plants. They chat as they pluck the groundnuts, occassionally stopping to snack on their harvest. This common scene came early this year thanks to a new irrigation system.

Dap Dior is one of several villages in Senegal experimenting with drip irrigation –
a technique that slowly delivers water to plant roots, minimizing the amount of water needed. . Farmers are using a low-cost model developed by an Israeli scientist familiar with the dryland conditions.

Fields using drip irrigation are marked by blue water barrels perched atop metre-high pedestals. Water must be pumped into the barrels using a fuel-powered generator. From there, gravity does the work. Water flows through pipes and into plastic inserts that are laid alongside crops.

Mamadou Diouf is one of the farmers who recently tried this new system. He used to wait until the rainy season to plant groundnut seeds. But this year, he is harvesting his groundnut crop early, around the time when he would normally plant it.

Planting during the dry season has many benefits. Mr. Diouf can sell his groundnut harvest before the market is flooded. When the rainy season arrives, he will cultivate another crop – tomatoes. The bottom line, he says, is that he will have more money to buy rice and vegetables for his family.

In a nearby village, farmers have been using the drip irrigation system for two years now. On average, farmers using the system have doubled their profits. Ibrahima Diop grows onions. His water costs have been cut in half since he switched from watering cans to drip irrigation. His fields are more productive, too. In a field where he used to harvest 550 kilograms of onions, he now reaps 800 kilograms.

But Mr. Diop explains that not all of his fellow villagers are eager to invest in the system. They have seen other irrigation systems fail, because they were too expensive to operate or difficult to maintain.

Others, however, are expanding their use of drip irrigation. The Israeli Embassy and local and international NGOs introduced the systems to the area. Now, some farmers are re-investing their higher earnings to purchase additional systems.
Click here to see the notes to broadcasters on drip irrigation

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2. Botswana: Single woman farmer is an advocate for others (Mmegi/The Reporter)

Thankanyana Mosime hopes that more single women farmers will be as successful as she is. Ms. Mosime grows crops and raises cattle to support herself, her grandchildren, and many of her relatives’ children. But she lives a relaxed lifestyle compared to the past.

Ms. Mosime recently shared her story of hardship and success with a Botswanian newspaper, in hopes of inspiring others. She urged Botswanian women to unite in farmer cooperatives, and called on the government to do more to support women farmers.

As a young teenager, Ms. Mosime was pulled out of school. Her parents were content that she had learned to read, and wanted her help on the family farm. It was a bittersweet time for Ms. Mosime. Although she had always been fascinated by agriculture, she also wished she could stay in school.

By the age of 16, she went to South Africa to sort peanuts on a commercial farm. She continued to work for large farmers until, one day, she decided to take two bags of maize she had earned and do something for herself. She used her earnings from selling maize to return home and put herself through school.

Ms. Mosime began worked as a typist and bookkeeper. Her salary allowed her to invest in what she really loved, and plan for a retirement in which she would concentrate on agriculture. She began cultivating a small plot of land and purchased cows and a bull.

For some 15 years, Ms. Mosime worked office jobs from Monday to Friday and tended to her farm on evenings and weekends. She laments that there was never time to relax, either emotionally or physically. Commuting from town to her land meant taking a public bus, then walking 10 kilometres. Physical tasks such hauling large harvests and repairing fences were never easy.

Today, Ms. Mosime has retired from her weekday job and enjoys focusing on her crops and cattle. She encourages other women farmers to make their lives easier by working together in cooperatives, to share workloads and profits.

Now an active member of the Botswana Farmers Association, Ms. Mosime recently met with the Assistant Minister of Agriculture at a farmers’ convention. She advocates for the Botswanian government to do more for single women farmers. The government is preparing to allocate farmland, and Ms. Mosime wants to see some of this land devoted to women farmer cooperatives.

Although Ms. Mosime overcame many hardships on her own, she hopes that other women will receive more support. She says the government should assist women farmers by drilling borehole wells and providing soil tests.
Click here to see the notes to broadcasters on single woman farmer

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Notes to broadcasters on drip irrigation:

Drip irrigation is an approach to watering crops that has been heavily promoted in recent years. As we saw in this story, it is of particular interest to farmers who cannot rely on rainwater during the dry season. Increasingly frequent droughts have also spurred interest in drip irrigation. Farmers from Dap Dior, Senegal, had tried other techniques to water their crops during the dry season. Concrete basins were installed, but farmers still had to water crops by hand. A sprinkler system was installed, but farmers did not find it cost effective – water was wasted through evaporation and fuel was needed to power a generator. (It cost much more to fuel the sprinkler system than the pump for the new drip irrigation system). A video was created to show how farmers in Dap Dior and its neighbouring village use drip irrigation: http://www.csmonitor.com/mediaplayer/index.html?file=http://csps.edgeboss.net/download/csps/csm/flash/webmedia/senegal_768k.flv&height=403&width=600
To learn more about drip irrigation, visit:
-The Wikipedia entry on drip irrigation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drip_irrigation
-A technical handbook on drip irrigation produced by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency: http://www.wca-infonet.org/servlet/BinaryDownloaderServlet?filename=1062172073991_drip.pdf&refID=101742

Farm Radio International has published a number of scripts on water harvesting and irrigation techniques for drought-prone areas. Some of these scripts are listed below. For a full list of scripts on water management, go to: http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/water.asp.
Rainwater from large rock surfaces can be used to irrigate crops: A new technology from Kibaale District, Uganda (Package 83, Script 9, March 2008)

A woman harvests water and grows vegetables in the dry season (Package 76, Script 9, October 2005)

Supply water directly to plant roots with pitcher and drip irrigation (Package 71, Script 10, June 2004)

Farmer Phiri uses infiltration pits to combat drought (Package 64, Script 6, July 2002)

Finally, here is an idea for a program that could introduce farmers to irrigation methods that work well in your area:
-Step one: Review Farm Radio scripts, as well as other resources to learn about irrigation methods used in your area or areas similar to yours.
-Step two: Invite a small panel of experts, such as extension officers, experienced farmers, researchers, or NGO representatives, for an on-air discussion about irrigation techniques. Begin by asking each of the panellists to describe an innovative or traditional irrigation method and why it is effective.
-Step three – Continue the program by asking farmers in your listening audience to phone or text in with questions or comments for the panellists. Be sure to ask callers about irrigation methods they have tried and whether they were successful.
-Step four – Consider producing a follow-up report on any particularly interesting and effective irrigation methods that are raised during the program.

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Notes to broadcasters on single woman farmer:

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August 22, 2008: Recently-announced deadline for One World fellowship

The One World Fellowship Scheme has announced more details about its 2008 program, which will bring senior radio and television broadcasters from developing countries to the United Kingdom from October 20-31. During this time, they will meet various people from the British media sector – from program makers and journalists to regulators and government officials – to learn about the media scene in the UK, and to share their own perspective on the role of the media in their countries and around the world. Chanda Mfula, from Zambezi FM in Zambia, participated in the program last year and had this to say: “One of the most significant things that the fellowship has done this year is try and narrow the gap between the developed world and developing world, and to bring common understanding. Everywhere we went we did not just learn, we shared.” For details on last year’s program, visit: http://www.owbt.org/pages/Fellowships/Fellowships%202007/fellowship2007_fell

Specific selection criteria for the fellowship include: fluency in written and spoken English; at least 2/3 years’ experience at a senior level of broadcasting; hands-on broadcaster or manager (not an academic or theoretician); has a practical and worthwhile idea of how the time in Britain might best be used. Successful applicants will have their international travel and accommodation expenses paid for the duration of the program, and will be given a daily living and travel allowance. The closing date for applications is noon (GMT) on August 22, 2008. For more information or to access the application form, visit: http://www.owbt.org/pages/Fellowships/apply.html.

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Resource kit on women in micro-enterprises – now available in French

Farm Radio partner PROTEGE QV, in partnership with the Commonwealth Connects Program, has developed a resource kit to assist radio organizations in preparing programs about women in micro-enterprises. The Multi Media Resource Kit includes detailed information on how to start and operate a micro-enterprise, as well as tips on how to use radio programming to reinforce the capacities of women in micro-enterprises. A range of topics related to starting and managing a small business are covered, including: choosing what kind of business to start and identifying necessary resources, book keeping and stock control, and pricing and marketing.

Suggested uses for the resources include:
-Reading text on the air “as is”
-Translating the text into a local language

-Using information to augment existing programs
-Using information to draft questions for an interview or round table discussion with one or more local resource persons.

You can find the resource kit online at:
http://www.radiommrk.org/presentation_an.html. For information on how to obtain the resource kit in book or CD format, contact PROTEGE QV at: mail@protegeqv.org .

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Farm Radio’s Managing Editor to meet with partners in West Africa

Farm Radio International’s Managing Editor, Vijay Cuddeford, is preparing to visit partners in West Africa next month. Here’s what he had to say about his upcoming trip….I will be visiting Nigeria and Cameroon from August 1-29 – my first time to West Africa! My first stop is Nigeria, where I’ll be travelling to the north to visit five radio stations involved in an exciting initiative to broadcast a 26-part serial drama about northern Nigerian farmers adapting to climate change. The drama is being written by the African Radio Drama Association, which is based in Lagos, and Farm Radio International is assisting by offering various services, including mine in editing the drama. I look forward to meeting with these stations and discussing the climate change drama and other radio-related issues.

In Cameroon, I will be travelling through much of the country, meeting many of our existing partners (and a few new partners), plus some Cameroon-based organizations which work on agriculture and development issues. At the stations, I’ll try to get an idea of how Farm Radio International can better serve their needs. We’ll exchange information on Farm Radio programs and on partner activities, and we’ll talk generally about how we can network together to strengthen rural radio in the country. And, as always, I’ll be on the lookout for stories to cover in upcoming issues of FRW and script packages.

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Supply water directly to plant roots with pitcher and drip irrigation

As our news story from Senegal pointed out, drip irrigation systems minimize the amount of water needed to irrigate crops by delivering water directly to the roots. In this week’s script, the host describes the function of drip irrigation systems (also known as trickle irrigation) in further detail. The host discusses pitcher irrigation as well (also known as clay pot irrigation), another technique that delivers water directly to plant roots. You may wish to assist farmers in your listening audience by finding out where they can obtain the materials necessary for pitcher or drip irrigation systems.

You can also view this script online at:

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