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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.

FRW news in brief

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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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-South Sudan: Facing famine and cholera outbreak

The President of South Sudan says his country faces “one of the worst famines ever“ if the conflict between government and rebel forces does not end immediately.

The UN South Sudan Crisis Response Plan states that over seven million people could go hungry by August, with an estimated quarter of a million children facing severe acute malnutrition. The international NGO Oxfam says the country is also facing a cholera outbreak.

The United Nations Security Council has accused both sides in the conflict of responsibility for the violence and is threatening sanctions. Nearly one million people are internally displaced or have fled the country as refugees.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-27469954

2-Ethiopia: Family farmers feed the world

The International Fund for Agricultural Development, or IFAD, states that 500 million small-scale farming families produce up to 80 per cent of the food consumed in the developing world.

At a recent conference in Addis Ababa, IFAD President Dr. Kanayo Nwaze said that investing in small-scale farmers is investing in the resilience of food systems. He noted that small-scale farmers are often unable to invest during crises because they lack assets, insurance, financial services and social safety nets.

Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn stated that Ethiopia is improving small-scale farmers’ options by strengthening agricultural marketing systems, providing irrigation and reducing land degradation.

To read the full article, go to: http://allafrica.com/stories/201405190799.html?aa_source=mf-hdlns

3-Somalia: Another famine on the horizon?

The UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia says that $60-million US is needed immediately to deliver food and water to 850,000 people in Somalia and save the lives of 50,000 children.

The matter is, however, complicated because of a ban on delivery of food aid to parts of the country controlled by the militant group Al-Shabaab.

The UN is calling on donors to help Somalia. The country suffered a famine in 2011. A quarter of a million people, many of them children, died after two harvests failed. Drought, a shortage of aid money and conflict have disrupted the current planting season, leading UN officials to fear that another famine is on the horizon.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.trust.org/item/20140519135609-pxg8c/?source=jtOtherNews2

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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-Chad: Measles epidemic across West and Central Africa

Chad’s Ministry of Health reports that since early May, there have been more than 7,000 registered cases of measles and nine reported deaths.

Measles is a highly contagious disease spread by human contact. Nearly 35,000 cases have been reported this year in Chad, Benin, Cameroon, Guinea, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic. According to Médecins Sans Frontières, children under five years of age account for 70 per cent of reported cases.

Chad’s government has yet to declare an epidemic, hoping the situation can be contained by international organizations.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.irinnews.org/report/100100/measles-spreading-in-chad-amid-weak-vaccination-coverage

2-Tanzania: Weather information in a changing climate

A collaboration between civil society, pastoralists and Tanzania’s Meteorological Agency, or TMA, is using indigenous knowledge to improve weather information for farmers.

The project aims to help farmers increase their yields by using indicators such as wind direction, cuckoo calls, and the timing of winged termites’ departure from their nests.

TMA wants to help farmers best exploit the seasonal distribution of rainfall to improve and stabilize crop yields.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.irinnews.org/report/100125/melding-science-and-tradition-to-tackle-climate-change

3-Nigeria: No birth record for millions of infants

Nearly half of all deaths in children under five occur in the first month of life. Every year, more than a quarter of a million newborn children die in Nigeria. The country ranks second, behind only India, in the numbers of newborn deaths.

More than 45 million babies across the world, or one in three newborns, do not have a birth certificate by their first birthday.

Experts say this poor record of registering newborns undermines the global fight against infant mortality. Special care for small and sick newborns would avert 30 per cent of infant deaths globally, while quality care before and immediately after birth would prevent 41 per cent of child and maternal deaths.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.trust.org/item/20140521041625-5i9hy?utm

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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-South Africa: Urban micro-farming

In the townships around Cape Town, urban farmers are using small parcels of land to grow crops, feed their families and earn an income.

Many of the townships where black people were resettled during apartheid still face widespread unemployment. But a group of women in Gugulethu, 15 kilometres from Cape Town, has started a vegetable garden.

A local NGO is training and supporting them through an initiative called “Harvest of Hope.” The initiative finds markets for the farmers’ produce. A vegetable box scheme established by the women has grown exponentially.

The income they earn from delivering boxes of produce all over suburban Cape Town helps them overcome poverty.

To read the full article, go to: http://allafrica.com/stories/201405061681.html?aa_source=mf-hdlns

2-Uganda: Will biotech crops make farmers rich?

Field trials of biotech varieties of banana, sweet potato, rice, cassava, cowpea and sorghum are being conducted in Uganda, Egypt, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi and Nigeria.

Globally, the sale of biotech crops was valued at $116.9-billion US last year, representing nearly 200 million hectares of biotech crops. If a new law before the Ugandan Parliament passes, it will allow small-scale Ugandan farmers to grow biotech crops.

According to the article, farmers in South Africa, Burkina Faso and Sudan have profited since introducing biotech maize and soya.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.monitor.co.ug/Magazines/Farming/Ugandan-farmers-could-benefit-from-biotech-gains/-/689860/2305750/-/item/0/-/otkcez/-/index.html

3-Rwanda: A rejuvenated co-op movement

Over the last ten years, agricultural co-operatives have improved the livelihoods of small-scale farmers in Rwanda by creating better access to bank loans, farm inputs and markets.

The Rwanda Development Organization works with AGRA, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, to support over 200 agricultural co-operatives in eight districts.

AGRA provides financial management and helps the growing co-operative movement develop business plans. The two agencies now offer training and support for over 21,000 Rwandan farmers.

To read the full article, go to: http://allafrica.com/stories/201405090533.html

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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: Tobacco farmers decrease use of fuelwood, decrease deforestation

Small-scale farmers in Zimbabwe are working with the tobacco industry to decrease deforestation by using fuel-efficient curing methods for their tobacco crops.

Zimbabwe exports 160 million kilograms of tobacco annually. Small-scale tobacco farmers account for 90 per cent of that output. Fifty thousand hectares of forest are destroyed each year to cure, or dry, the tobacco with wood smoke.

Ten thousand energy efficient “rocket” barns have been distributed to small growers over the past two seasons to cut firewood use. These barns use 50 to 55 per cent less fuelwood than traditional curing barns.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.trust.org/item/20140501090447-tjohm/

2-Madagascar: Forest conservation

A reforestation project in a protected area of rainforest is educating locals on the value of preserving the forest.

The project generates income for 400 households, with many locals employed as full-time eco-tour guides and tree planters. When the reforestation project began in 2003, Analamazaotra forest station, 150 kilometres east of Madagascar’s capital, was a popular tourist destination. But tourist numbers dropped drastically after the 2009 political crisis, and locals turned to selling charcoal.

The reforestation project teaches farmers how to cut trees for charcoal in a more sustainable way. It also provides training on agricultural techniques that boost yields and decrease deforestation.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.irinnews.org/report/99983/small-steps-towards-forest-conservation-in-madagascar

3-Congo-Brazzaville: Logging industry encouraged to move towards sustainability

The Congo basin rainforest has been devastated by illegal logging.

In recent years, however, the national authorities have been encouraging reforestation and sustainable development. In 2010, Gabon was the first state in the region to impose a total ban on log exports, in an effort to encourage a local wood industry.

Because of US and EU legislation, any operator using wood and wood-related products must prove the products were logged and exported legally. A certification process is now being applied from logging to wood processing.

This process is essential to open major world markets for Congolese timber.

To read the full article, go to: http://spore.cta.int/en/component/content/article/17-spore/8/9067-tropical-wood

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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-Nigeria: Humanitarian response needed in north
Nigeria’s disaster management agencies − NEMA (the National Emergency Management Agency) and SEMA (the State Emergency Management Agencies) − are calling for immediate international aid to three northern states.

According to figures released by NEMA, nearly a quarter of a million people were displaced from Yobe, Borno and Adamawa states between January and March 2014 as a result of ongoing violence by the Boko Haram group. About six million people, half of the population in this part of the country, have been affected by the violence.

Many in the area live in a state of fear. In Borno state, Boko Haram militants recently kidnapped 200 girls from a schoolhouse, and most are still missing. The healthcare system is on the verge of collapse; nearly four in ten health centres have closed. NEMA has promised to distribute food aid to 200,000 people in the northern states, but at least 50,000 have yet to receive any help.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.irinnews.org/report/99971/need-to-ramp-up-aid-response-in-nigeria-s-violence-torn-northeast

2-Zimbabwe: Disaster preparation

The aging Kariba dam, constructed in 1954 on the Zambezi River between Zambia and Zimbabwe, is worrying engineers.
Structural problems caused another dam, the Tokwe-Mukosi in southeastern Zimbabwe, to flood recently, displacing thousands of local residents. The Zimbabwean government declared the flood a national disaster.

If the 128-metre-high Kariba Dam collapses, 3.5 million people in Zimbabwe and Zambia would be seriously affected. The fallout would also affect neighbouring countries such as Malawi and Mozambique.

Kariba Dam holds one of the world’s largest man-made bodies of water, and provides hydro power to millions. Communities which depend on the dam for tourism and fishing are concerned that their livelihoods could be affected if structural problems are not fixed soon.

Zambian and Zimbabwean authorities have begun a joint fundraising effort to support major repairs to
the dam.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.irinnews.org/report/99904/kariba-dam-collapse-fears-and-disaster-preparedness-in-zimbabwe

3-Kenya: Livestock scheme incorporates Islamic principles
An insurance scheme based on Islamic sharia law is gaining ground in Kenya’s arid northern regions, where frequent severe droughts challenge pastoralists.

The Islamic Takaful insurance policy (from the Arabic word kafalah, meaning “helping one another”) compensates herders for losses of livestock or reductions in the value of livestock. The policy employs data provided by the International Livestock Research Institute, or ILRI, which uses satellites to survey grazing land and gauge the severity of droughts.

ILRI says that insurance can make livestock keeping more effective by cushioning household assets and income during drought-induced losses.

Livestock insurance schemes have been tried with these Kenyan communities in the past, but to no avail. But the current scheme, with its religious precepts, is attracting previously skeptical herders to insure their herds.

Over a hundred livestock keepers have received payouts under the Takaful pilot program, which has helped build confidence in the scheme.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.irinnews.org/report/99909/kenya-s-sharia-friendly-livestock-insurance

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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-Cote d’Ivoire: Ivorians face malnutrition

Forty per cent of children in northern Cote d’Ivoire are chronically malnourished, higher than the national average of 30 per cent.

The proportion of malnourished children in the countryhas remained constant for the last six years. But with too few medical staff, the situation is likely to deteriorate, and is further complicated by aid groups leaving and recent political conflict.

In 2012, three UN agencies warned that Cote d’Ivoirefaced food shortages and chronic malnutrition because ofthe number of people displaced in the 2010-11 violence,and also because of poor rainfall and an extended lean season.

At the time, rebels controlled the northern part of the country. The government has yet to improve public services in the north.

To read the full article, go to:http://www.irinnews.org/report/99907/chronic-malnutrition-dogs-c%C3%B4te-d-ivoire-s-north

2-Uganda: Food aid for Karamoja

In the arid northeastern Ugandan region of Karamoja, households are receiving food aid earlier than usual this year.

The World Food Programme, or WFP, is distributing food to help fight food insecurity. WFP is targeting 155,000 people from the most food insecure households. The organization aims to help over 350,000 people with an asset creation program; 100,000 children will receive school meals through the plan.

According to a food security assessment conducted by Uganda’s Ministry of Agriculture, WFP and the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, over 100,000 Karamojong face food insecurity, while a quarter of a million are at risk because of the long dry spell across the region.

To read the full article, go to:http://www.irinnews.org/report/99903/questions-over-karamoja-food-security-plan

3-Rwanda: Biofortified beans fight hunger

In 2000, the national government awarded Joane Nkuliye 25 hectares of land in Rwanda’s Eastern Province, a two hour drive from the capital, Kigali.

At first, Ms. Nkuliye thought about raising cattle. But when she saw the degree of malnutrition in the community, she changed her mind.

Ms. Nkuliye now grows food as well on 11 hectares of her land in Nyagatare district. She focuses on biofortified, protein-rich beans to help fight malnutrition. Many children in the area suffer from kwashiorkor, aform of malnutrition caused by severe protein deficiency.

An international NGO called HarvestPlus, working through its local partners, supplied Ms. Nkuliye with seeds, packaging and outlets through which she canmarket the nutritious beans.

In Rwanda, 44 per cent of the population − over five million people − suffer from malnutrition and micronutrient deficiency. Biofortified foods like beans are one solution to the chronic lack of vitamins and minerals.

One in three Rwandans is anemic, or deficient in iron, with a higher proportion in women and children.

To read the full article, go to:http://www.ipsnews.net/2014/04/biofortified-beans-fight-hidden-hunger-rwanda/

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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- Kenya: Coffee farmers get disease-resistant seeds

Kenyan farmers are set to benefit from 12 million disease-resistant coffee seedlings. Batian and Ruiru 11 are varieties that are resistant to coffee berry disease and coffee leaf rust.

Kenya’s Coffee Research Foundation, or CRF, is partnering with the Murang’a County government to supply coffee farmers with the two varieties. Four million seedlings will be distributed in October 2014, and another eight million at the start of the March 2015 rains.

A Murang’a County official said CRF will distribute the seedlings to farmers via women’s groups and youth. They hope that these varieties will interest more youth in coffee farming, as the varieties require few inputs.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.africanfarming.net/crops/agriculture/crf-to-supply-more-than-12mn-coffee-seedlings-to-farmers

2- Tanzania: Zanzibari women farm the sea

Women in Zanzibar have earned their livelihood for many years by gathering seaweed from the shores of the Indian Ocean.

Seaweed is used in cosmetics, lotions, toothpaste, medicines and food. But now the women, who have transformed their lives and supported their families with seaweed, are threatened by rising sea temperatures. Many say the seaweed is dying, and have stopped harvesting.

Zanzibar is the world’s third largest exporter of seaweed. The Tanzanian government says the sector employed 23,000 people, 90 per cent of whom were women.

The government of Zanzibar is conducting research on the causes of seaweed mortality and how to address them.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-26770151

3- Central African Republic: UN agencies call for action on CAR crisis

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, or FAO, and the World Food Programme, also known as WFP, released a joint report which calls for urgent humanitarian action over the next 18 months in the Central African Republic.

The reports say that the conflict which started December 2012 is the main reason for the loss of food and cash crops, and is a serious challenge to livelihoods. As a result of the conflict, over one and a half million people are in urgent need of food aid.

Since early 2013, disruption of trade, loss of purchasing power and unemployment has made food supplies even more difficult to access in the CAR.

FAO provided agricultural inputs to 75,000 households in time for the planting period which started in April.

WFP has received only one-third of the funding required to help feed one and a quarter million people. Both agencies are calling for funding to provide life-saving assistance during the current rainy season and the subsequent lean season, when the need for food assistance will peak.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.trust.org/item/20140407083826-oo4fv/

Post your comment »

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 atfarmradioweekly@farmradio.org

1-African Court stresses State obligation to protect journalists

The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights ruled recently in the case of murdered journalist Norbert Zongo. The editor and publisher of L’Independent in Burkina Faso was killed 16 years ago near Sapouy, about 100 kilometres from the capital, Ouagadougou.

The journalist’s body was found badly burned and with bullet wounds. At the time of his death, Mr. Zongo was investigating the torture and killing of David Ouedraogo, an employee of President Blaise Campaore’s brother. A presidential commission decided later that Mr. Zongo’s murder was politically motivated, but no-one has been brought to justice.

In 2011, Mr. Zongo’s widow took the case to the African Court. Its decision sets a precedent; the court stated that the government of Burkina Faso had failed to hold those responsible to account and seek justice for Mr. Zongo’s family.

This case will reverberate around Africa. As the court stated: “The assassination of a journalist intimidates the media, has a chilling effect on free expression, violates the human rights of journalists, endangers truth, and should not be allowed.” 

To read the full article, go to: http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/voices/killing-norbert-zongo-african-court-stresses-state-obligation-protect-journalists

2-West Africa: Food crisis continues in Sahel

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs recently stated that 20 million people in the Sahel are facing food shortages this year.

This comes on the heels of the 2011-12 drought and resulting food crisis, which affected 18 million people and caused a 26 per cent decline in cereal production compared to the previous season.

According to the Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, nearly 70 per cent of produce traded by ECOWAS member states goes to countries outside the ECOWAS zone and trade less than ten per cent to ECOWAS member states. A senior economist with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization says that expanding trade amongst ECOWAS members is essential to avert future food crises.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.irinnews.org/report/99810/trading-away-west-africa-s-hunger

3-Burkina Faso: Fighting childhood malnutrition

Severe acute malnutrition in Burkina Faso has decreased to less than ten per cent of the population. But thirty per cent of Burkinabé are still chronically malnourished, according to government statistics.

Over the last 20 years, there has been a reduction in the numbers of malnourished children, though more than 30 per cent are still affected by stunted growth. The government strategy to combat childhood malnutrition has been to improve access to nutrition-led health care programs in rural areas.

The country’s 2010 Demographic Health Survey reports that access to health is limited outside urban areas, and that awareness of the importance of nutrition is lacking. The study found that one in five urban children under the age of five is stunted, while the number jumps to one in three in rural areas.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.irinnews.org/report/99767/gains-and-losses-as-burkina-faso-fights-child-hunger

4-Nigeria: Attacks cause food shortages

Nigeria’s National Economic Council, or NEC, has warned that the country is facing food shortages due to violent attacks in 17 states.

The NEC has condemned attacks against farmers. Such attacks prevent them from working on their land, and may lead to food insecurity across the country. Hundreds of farmers have been killed and thousands displaced in open battles between farmers and pastoralists in 17 states.

The NEC is calling for an emergency meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan to find a solution to the problem before food shortages occur. One governor labelled the attackers “mercenaries” because some of them wear military uniforms.

The NEC has set up a technical committee to make recommendations on how to stop the ongoing conflicts.

To read the full article, go to: http://allafrica.com/stories/201403280299.html?aa_source=mf-hdlns

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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-World Bank: Gender gap holds back women farmers in Africa

A new report by the World Bank looks at the role of women in agriculture across sub-Saharan Africa.

The report, Levelling the field: Improving opportunities for women farmers in Africa, examines the status of women farmers in Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria, Niger, Ethiopia and Malawi. Looking at the inequality in crop production between men and women farmers, the report states that women face a “pervasive inequality” which must be addressed to boost food security and economic growth while reducing poverty.

The report states that, though half of agricultural workers in Africa are women, agriculture in Africa has “deep-rooted gender gaps.” World Bank Africa Region Vice President Makhtar Diop stated that strengthening land rights and ensuring equal access to inputs and resources is the only way to address this imbalance.

To read the full story, go to: http://www.newbusinessethiopia.com/index.php/buss/99-agribusiness/699-gender-gap-holds-back-women-farmers-in-africa

2-Ethiopia: Influx of refugees from conflict in South Sudan

Gambella is one of the poorest regions in Ethiopia. Since the conflict in South Sudan started last December, 76,000 refugees have arrived in this part of a country already known for food insecurity.

The UN’s High Commission for Refugees, or UNHCR, is expecting more than 150,000 people to cross the border from South Sudan, fleeing the violence in that country. South Sudanese refugees are also migrating to Uganda and Kenya, and north to Sudan. The situation is making humanitarian relief very difficult.

According to UNHCR, 95 per cent of those seeking refuge are women and children, while boys are being forced to join a side of the conflict. While the governments of Ethiopia and Gambella region say borders will remain open and those fleeing violence will not be turned away, UNHCR states that health services and malnutrition are concerns which must be addressed.

To read the full story, go to: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/mar/24/humanitarian-crisis-refugees-south-sudan-ethiopia

3-Rwanda: World Bank gives $70 million to combat poverty

The World Bank is giving Rwanda a $46 million loan and a grant of $24 million as the last instalment of a three-year aid program to fight poverty and combat natural disasters.

The number of Rwandans living in extreme poverty has dropped over the last ten years from 40 per cent to 24 per cent. Twenty years ago, the genocide claimed the lives of over 800,000 Rwandans. Since then, President Paul Kagame has opened Rwanda to foreign investment, though there are limits to political opposition and freedom of the press.

The World Bank expects Rwanda’s economy to grow by 7.5 per cent in 2014, which is in line with the government’s own projections. However, the risk of natural disasters caused by torrential rains poses a threat to the country’s economy.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.trust.org/item/20140319165417-z5zc1/?source=hptop

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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.

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1-Zambia: Fighting to save local radio

The government of Zambia has threatened to revoke the broadcasting licence of Radio Mano in Kasama, in the country’s Northern Province.

Information Minister Mwansa Kapeya stated that the radio station is not observing good broadcasting ethics and is airing programs which create public discontent. Mr. Kapeya is pledging to review the government’s media policy and offer grants to community radio stations.

The grants are designed to help stations sustain their operations as most community radio stations are staffed by volunteers. There are more than 70 radio stations across Zambia, with that number continually increasing. The government has also set aside 8.3 million Zambian Kwacha [$20,000 US] to install FM transmitters to enhance radio reception countrywide.

The UN Educational and Scientific Organization, or UNESCO, has also provided some financial assistance to radio stations in rural areas.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.zambian-economist.com/2014/03/funding-local-radio.html There is further information here: http://lusakavoice.com/2014/03/01/govt-warns-radio-mano-of-de-registration/

2-Mozambique: Program lends a helping hand to agricultural development

Small-scale farmers in Mozambique are receiving aid and technical support from the US and Brazil through a program called Mozambique Food and Nutrition Security Program.

The program was created in 2012 with the help of the Mozambique Institute of Agricultural Research, or IIAM, and is designed to expand fruit and vegetable production and distribution throughout the country. According to IIAM, fruit and vegetable growing is key to generating employment and income for small-scale farmers, as produce represents 20 per cent of family expenditures.

South Africa is the largest supplier of fruit and vegetables to southern Mozambique. IIAM figures show that, prior to 2010, nearly all the onions, 65 per cent of tomatoes and 57 per cent of cabbages consumed in the cities of Maputo and Matola came from South Africa.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.ipsnews.net/2014/03/brazilian-innovation-financed-mozambican-agriculture/

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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-Sudan: Cooking for carbon credits

A new project in Sudan’s western Darfur region is offering efficient cookstoves for sale and helping give the country its first carbon credits.

The carbon credit program was established in 2003 by the Worldwide Fund for Nature and 80 other NGO partners worldwide. It enables individuals, corporations and governments to buy carbon credits in exchange for verified reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and financing of sustainable development projects.

According to Gold Standard, a certification body for carbon offsets, the program’s 10,000 cookstoves will save more than 300,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions over 10 years. The stoves are also expected to bring social, economic and health benefits, such as less smoke in homes.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.trust.org/item/20140219161848-e8g5r/?source=hptop

2-South Sudan: Food crisis in swamplands

Over three million South Sudanese people are currently in an “emergency” or “crisis” phase of food insecurity, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change classification system. To add to the difficulties, the coming rainy season will make much of South Sudan inaccessible.

The World Food Program warned last year that four million South Sudanese would be food insecure. By February 2014, that figure had been revised to seven million, almost two-thirds of the country’s population.

Even in a normal year, at least 10 per cent of the population experience severe seasonal food insecurity, regardless of agricultural performance. In the swamplands of the Sudd region, tens of thousands have been displaced by the fighting and are living with little food on inaccessible islands.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.irinnews.org/report/99735/worsening-food-crisis-in-south-sudan-s-swamplands

3-Liberia: Student farmers back on the soil and in classrooms

Ten years after the end of Liberia’s 14-year conflict, agriculture accounts for over 60 per cent of the country’s GDP, and the majority of Liberians aged 16 to 35 are subsistence farmers.

Before two civil wars ravaged Liberia, agriculture was a main topic of education for youth. Now, it is returning to the curriculum. Twenty-two young farmers have been given the opportunity to learn agriculture and processing techniques in the field during the day, with reading, writing, and arithmetic classes in the evening.

The new back-to-school garden initiative, piloted in the central Grand Bassa County, will be expanded to five more counties this year.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.goodfoodworld.com/2014/02/student-farmers-in-liberia-get-back-to-the-soil-and-into-the-classroom/

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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-Kenya: Big investment in irrigated agriculture

Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta recently launched a one million acre irrigation project, expected to cost 250 billion Kenyan shillings ($3 billion USD) over five years.

The project is designed to address the recurring problem of food insecurity in the country. Government-owned land in the semi-arid counties of Tana River and Kilifi in the Coastal Region will be irrigated to provide maize for central grain stores. These stocks of maize s will be mobilized during national shortages.

The government acquired the land in 1989 from through the Agriculture Development Corporation. Half a million acres will be planted with maize, boosting the country’s production to 45 million bags per year.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.trust.org/item/20140227230935-tblny/?source=hpbreaking-

2-Somalia: Stopping sexual violence

There were 800 cases of sexual and gender-based violence in Mogadishu in the first half of 2013, according to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. One NGO, Save Somali Women and Children, has recorded 2,000 survivors of sexual violence since July 2012.

In January 2013, a woman who alleged she had been raped and the journalist who interviewed her were both arrested and sentenced to jail.

Ed Pomfret is the Somalia campaigns and policy manager for Oxfam. He says, “Women need to have access to sympathetic courts and police to ensure that perpetrators of sexual and gender-based violence are tried fairly and brought to justice.”

The Somali government is working on a national gender policy, but critics argue the initial draft of the proposed law doesn’t address violence in a meaningful way. In February 2014, Human Rights Watch released a report calling on the government to take action to protect women and children in government-controlled areas of the country.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.irinnews.org/report/99702/greater-efforts-needed-to-curb-sexual-violence-in-mogadishu

3-Niger: Farmers losing ground

West Africa has recently been experiencing the most abrupt changes in climate since weather records began. The UN Development Program blames climate change for the environmental stresses hammering Niger.

The stresses include soil erosion, desertification, degradation of grazing land, decreasing availability of water, and loss of vegetation cover and biodiversity. Farmers say the rains came late and ended early last year, ruining their harvests.

This year, drought, land degradation, pests and poor seeds are again threatening their livelihoods and causing hunger and poverty on a massive scale. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that up to three million Nigeriens will face food insecurity this year.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.irinnews.org/report/99733/under-chronic-stress-niger-farmers-are-losing-ground

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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-Central African Republic: Food insecurity worsens as traders flee

Food security is at risk in the Central African Republic as rural people continue to flee the country. Anti-balaka militias are targeting anyone they perceive to be an ex-Seleka rebel.

Tens of thousands of traders have fled in order to seek safety. Their absence is causing food markets in the country to collapse. The exodus follows months of violence, which French and African Union peacekeepers have been unable to halt.

The violence started when the Seleka rebel group took power and installed Michel Djotodia as president. Mr. Djotodia stepped down last month and was replaced by Mrs. Catherine Samba-Panza, the former mayor of the capital, Bangui. She called on the anti-balaka to stop the violence.

The United Nations estimates that 1.3 million people − more than a quarter of the population − are in need of emergency food aid.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.trust.org/item/20140211192644-ps39v

2Cameroon: Climate change blamed for soaring food prices

Residents in Cameroon’s most populous cities, Yaounde and Douala, are paying dramatically higher prices for their food. The increases were triggered by recent changes in the weather, and farmers are blaming water shortages.

Prices of staple foods such as rice, plantain, flour and cocoyam have risen by over 20 per cent in the last three months. The price of vegetables and fruit has also doubled, according to the Cameroon Consumers Association.

In 2008, riots broke out in both cities after food prices spiked. According to government figures, more than 100 people died in the rioting.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.trust.org/item/20140214110325-5alf1

3 Nigeria: Threat of floods makes farmers wary of investment

In 2012, floods devastated much of the farmland in Nigeria’s Kogi State.

The worst floods in four decades affected over seven million people across Nigeria. Two major rivers, the Niger and Benue, merge in Kogi State. More than a million people were cut off from their homes and businesses by flood waters, while farms and food stocks were washed away.

Although farmers want to commercialize their production of staples such as cassava, yams and rice, there was another flood warning last year, and farmers are wary of investing in their farms after the government responded so slowly in 2012.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.irinnews.org/report/99648/lingering-hardship-after-nigeria-floods

4West Africa: Youth unemployment

Across West Africa, many youth are either unemployed or underemployed. The resulting breakdown in social cohesion is often associated with higher levels of crime and violence, and can perpetuate poverty.

Globally, an estimated 73 million youth − defined as those between the ages of 15 and 24 − were unable to find work in 2013, according to a study by the International Labour Organization. Although the rate of underemployment is more difficult to measure, it is likely that millions more are either overqualified for their job or receiving below-average wages.

In sub-Saharan Africa, about 12 per cent of youth are unemployed. Africa has the world’s highest rate of working poor, defined as employed people who earn less than $2 US a day. The ILO study shows that despite being part of Africa’s most educated generation, young Africans are twice as likely to be unemployed as adults than residents of other continents.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.irinnews.org/report/99620/breaking-the-cycle-of-youth-unemployment-poverty

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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: Resource curse or misery diamonds?

The province of Manicaland in eastern Zimbabwe is facing rising food insecurity. The situation in the area around the Marange diamond mines is being blamed by Chiadzwa Community Development Trust, a local NGO, on the “resource curse.”

Mining activities have swallowed 60,000 hectares of land from the community. The increase in mining has undermined the livelihoods of local families which traditionally sold crops and livestock to buy food, pay for school fees and other basic needs.

Stella Washaya is a Marange villager and volunteer counsellor for vulnerable young girls. She claims that the loss of land and other factors has resulted in one in five village households having at least one teenaged girl involved in the commercial sex trade.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.irinnews.org/report/99609/zimbabwe-s-misery-diamonds

2- Uganda: Climate-smart technology

Ugandan farmers and livestock herders have suffered in recent years from the lack of reliable local weather information. Before the effects of the changing climate became apparent, weather patterns were predictable. But now, farmers are finding it more difficult to predict when the rains will come.

To remedy this situation, the Ugandan government, NGOs, local council leaders, communities and researchers teamed up to develop a weather information service which is offered via SMS. The Climate Change Adaptation and ICT Project collects local weather data via mobile phone and transmits it to the capital, Kampala. Once the data is analyzed, the project delivers 10-day and 30-day weather forecasts to farmers via text messages.

The new service has been tested in three central and eastern districts of Uganda and now the country’s Ministry of Water and Environment is looking to expand its reach.

To read the full article, got to: http://www.trust.org/item/20140206191047-2fyx7/?source=hptop

3- Ghana: SMS poll changes government position on electricity rates

At the end of 2013, Ghana’s government decided to raise water and electricity rates across the country. The decision sparked street protests and complaints on radio call-in shows.

With assistance from the NGO Journalists for Human Rights, Accra’s Citi FM and the Globe newspaper conducted a national SMS poll, in which Ghanaians voiced their opinions on the proposed rate increase. Media coverage of the nine-question SMS poll led to country-wide participation, turning it into a national issue and an international story.

As a result of the poll and the massive opposition to the increase, the government relented and reduced the proposed hike from 79 percent to 55 per cent.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.jhr.ca/success/category/success-stories-by-country/stories-from-ghana/

4- Kenya: Maize shortage means empty stomachs

Families are struggling to put food on the table in the midst of a drought in Kenya’s semi-arid Central Province. And nearly half the 400,000 residents of arid Turkana County in the Rift Valley Province are facing starvation.

Kenya’s Drought Management Authority says food shortages in central Kenya are a result of the lack of rainfall. Only 200 millimetres of rain fell this year, a fifth of the annual average. The effects of the drought are expected to reach their peak in August, when stocks from this year’s maize harvest start to run out. The UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization estimates that this year’s maize harvest in Kenya was 10 million bags less than average.

The Kenya Agricultural Research Institute stated that ten million Kenyans across the country lack sufficient food, and 1.7 million face hunger and starvation.

http://www.ipsnews.net/2014/02/kenyas-empty-bread-basket

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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: Government agency shortchanges small-scale farmers

For the past 83 years, Zimbabwe’s state-run Grain Marketing Board, or GMB, has supported small-scale farmers by paying them to produce grain. Now the GMB is being blamed for neither paying farmers nor properly managing the country’s grain reserves.

Zimbabwe’s Minister of Agriculture recently stated that the government cannot expect farmers to produce if they’re not being paid. Small-scale farmers are the backbone of the country’s food security, providing about 70 percent of its staple crop, maize, according to agricultural analysts and government estimates.

Over two million people, a quarter of Zimbabwe’s rural population, will require assistance in the 2014 “lean season,” according to a government officials and members of the UN’s World Food Programme.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.irinnews.org/report/99548/zimbabwe-short-changing-its-small-scale-farmers

2- Sahel: Twenty million people threatened by food insecurity

The United Nations is appealing for $2 billion US to feed and care for 20 million people across the Sahel.

The Sahel suffers from regular droughts, cyclical floods, epidemics and locust infestations. According to the UN, food insecurity in the area has almost doubled over the last year, and deteriorating security in several countries is adding to the problem.

The situation has been complicated by recent conflicts in Mali and Sudan, and ongoing violence in Nigeria and the Central African Republic.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.trust.org/item/20140203122301-zigy6/?utm

3- Crop-eating pests plague farmers in southern Africa

In Zimbabwe, a new outbreak of army worms has destroyed 800 hectares of cereal crops and 300 hectares of pasture.

Subsistence farmers have been hit the hardest. Even those who can afford to spray against the pest find their efforts diluted by heavy rains. Over two million Zimbabweans require food assistance, according to the UN’s World Food Programme.

Army worms have also been reported in Malawi, Mozambique and eastern Zambia. In Malawi, 2,600 hectares of crops have been affected and 500 hectares completely destroyed, according to the country’s Ministry of Agriculture.

The border area between Malawi and Mozambique is also being hit by outbreaks of red locusts. The Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee says the outbreaks have caused food shortages that will affect 1.85 million people.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.irinnews.org/report/99607/crop-eating-pests-plague-southern-african-farmers

Editor’s note: FRW published a story on this subject in February 2013 (FRW #235): Southern Africa: Armyworms threaten crops and pastures http://weekly.farmradio.org/2013/02/11/southern-africa-armyworms-threaten-crops-and-pastures-by-zenzele-ndebele-for-farm-radio-weekly-in-zimbabwe-with-files-from-zambia-daily-mail-and-news-24/

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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-United Nations: Every child counts

About 140 million girls and women around the world are victims of a harmful cultural practice known as female genital mutilation, also called FGM or genital cutting, according to a UNICEF report.

UNICEF states that problems such as violence, child marriage and FGM are still widespread. Its report, released last week, states that one in five girls between infancy and 15 years of age is subjected to FGM in sub-Saharan Africa. The UN general assembly passed a resolution in 2012 demanding greater efforts to eliminate the practice.

The report, released ahead of the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, also highlights that, globally, one in ten girls marries before the age of 15.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/jan/30/female-genital-mutilation-affects-girls-africa

2-South Sudan: Urgent food aid needed

Over three and a half million South Sudanese need immediate food aid, according to the UN.

Toby Lanzer is the UN’s humanitarian coordinator in South Sudan. He says a third of the country’s people have been displaced by civil conflict, and are in urgent need of food.

The dispute in Africa’s youngest nation, which began in December 2013, has pushed South Sudan to the brink of civil war, despite ongoing peace talks and a ceasefire agreement. Mr. Lanzer says $1.3 billion is needed to deal with the food crisis, with nearly 900,000 people displaced because of the fighting.

Health care is also threatened in South Sudan. The international NGO Médecins Sans Frontières says 240 of its staff members had to flee into the bush because of insecurity in Unity State, the scene of clashes between government and rebel groups.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-26004268

3-Tanzania: Three journalists acquitted of sedition

The former managing editors of Mwananchi and Tanzania Daima newspapers and one journalist were acquitted of sedition last week in a Dar es Salaam court.

Government lawyers had accused journalist Samson Mwigamba of writing a seditious article which, they claimed, called on Tanzanian security forces not to obey elected leaders. The two editors, Absalom Kibanda and Theophil Makunga, were charged after publishing the article in their newspapers. All three were acquitted by Senior Resident Magistrate Warielwande Lema.

Her ruling stated that witnesses couldn’t prove any member of the security forces had disobeyed their superiors as a result of the article. The ruling can be seen as a victory for freedom of the press in a country where the 1976 Newspaper Act gives government the right to shut down newspapers for publishing what it considers seditious material.

To read the full article, go to: http://allafrica.com/stories/201401300126.html

4-Kenya: Irrigation scheme offers solutions but raises questions

Pastoralist and farming communities in Kenya’s Kilifi and Tana River counties are wondering why they weren’t involved in the planning process for a massive, multi-million dollar irrigation plan.

The new 400,000 hectare Galana-Kulalu Food Security Project is expected to focus on producing crops, livestock and fish for domestic and international markets, according to the UN’s humanitarian news service, IRIN.

The government of Kenya is financing the first phase of the project for $42 million US. But disputes between the region’s pastoralist and farming communities have raised doubts about whether the money will actually benefit the farmers and herdsmen.

According to IRIN, there are concerns in some quarters that the funds are more likely to line the pockets of government officials in one of the least developed areas of Kenya.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.irinnews.org/report/99555/kenyan-irrigation-scheme-offers-solutions-but-raises-questions

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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-Central African Republic: AU lends its support to aid convoys

Aid convoys which had been unable to enter the Central African Republic from neighbouring Cameroon are now being escorted by African Union troops. Soldiers have been ordered to help deliver relief supplies to the capital, Bangui.

As violence between ex-Seleka rebels and anti-balaka militias continues across the country, a humanitarian threat is looming. According to IRIN, the UN’s News Agency, aid agencies are having difficulty distributing relief supplies around the country.

The UN’s World Food Programme stated that 38 of its trucks were stranded on the Cameroonian side of the CAR border after a Food and Agriculture Organization truck was hijacked while delivering emergency food supplies.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.irinnews.org/report/99527/troops-deployed-to-protect-aid-convoys-in-car

2-Uganda: Facebook group fights government plan for gardens

The Ugandan government is attempting to launch a network of community gardens in the arid, northeastern region of Karamoja. But government efforts have met with lively resistance in a Facebook discussion.

Members of the online group Karamoja Development Forum criticized the government’s plan for everyone to cultivate gardens. Commentators labelled the scheme as “short-sighted” and “patronizing.” In Karamoja, where, according to one Facebook post, arable farming is “just a side dish to pastoralism,” some are criticizing the scheme as not a viable way to avert hunger and reduce poverty.

However, Uganda’s State Minister for Karamoja Affairs, Barbara Nekesa, believes the region’s 1.2 million people have a real chance to improve food production. If farmers start growing cassava and potatoes, she says, more food will be available during the dry season.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.irinnews.org/report/99523/alarm-over-mandatory-gardens-in-karamoja

3-South Sudan: Fragile health system falters

The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, or OCHA, is concerned that the lack of water, food and shelter in camps for internally displaced South Sudanese could cause an outbreak of disease.

The international NGO, Médecins Sans Frontières, or MSF, described the South Sudanese health system as being “extremely fragile” before the outbreak of violence, with 80 per cent of health services provided by international organizations. According to MSF and OCHA, the situation has deteriorated. Nearly 600,000 people are currently displaced inside South Sudan, and more than 100,000 have fled to neighbouring countries.

The head of MSF’s mission in South Sudan said that clinics have not been resupplied and medical workers have fled, leaving the health care system to collapse. The UN Children’s Fund warns that, without humanitarian aid, the risk of preventable deaths “will increase dramatically.”

To read the full article, go to: http://www.irinnews.org/report/99543/growing-disease-burden-in-south-sudan-conflict

4-Zimbabwe: Urban farmers hope to harvest rainwater

Farmers growing crops on small patches of land within the city of Bulawayo are short of water to irrigate their crops. This is despite higher than average rainfall since November, 2013.

The Ministry of Agriculture wants urban farmers to help battle food insecurity in the country. But, according to a story by the Thompson Reuters News Agency, the Ministry is offering little assistance to farmers who want to harness rainwater for irrigation. The government says many urban farmers are working on illegal plots. The government did not consider urban farmers when drafting recent legislation on the role of irrigation in the country’s agricultural sector.

Zimbabwe’s poor harvests are being attributed to drought, as well as the government’s lack of resources to support farmers and an early warning system to detect drought. While many urban farmers are growing maize on small plots in towns, the country must import the crop from neighbouring countries such as Zambia and South Africa.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.trust.org/item/20140127094111-106xs/?

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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-Tanzania: Land clashes lead to deaths

Ongoing conflicts between farmers and pastoralists over limited land and water resources are making life difficult for Tanzanian farmers.

A recent clash between small-scale farmers and Maasai pastoralists in central Tanzania’s Kiteto district led to 10 deaths, according to Inter Press Services.

Local farmers accused district officials of colluding with pastoralists to intimidate farmers living on the Embroi Murtangosi forest reserve and chase them off their land.

Kisioki Mesiaya, a farmer in Kiteto district, told Inter Press Services, “It’s no secret; we are being harassed because there are certain people who are getting paid to evict us from this area.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.ipsnews.net/2014/01/tanzania-finds-hard-stop-farmers-herders-fighting-resources/

2-Mali: Hit with a double crisis

The area around Bandiagara in central Mali’s Mopti region is coping with two crises: the total collapse of its tourism industry, and successive poor harvests which have led to depleted food stocks.

There has been a threefold increase in child malnutrition in the village of Nombori, according to local health professionals.

The tourism industry has collapsed because of the 2012 takeover of northern Mali by Islamic militants, and a string of kidnappings.

Insufficient rainfall and a disappointing harvest of millet, a regional staple, have exacerbated food insecurity. The government conducted a food security assessment which showed that over 150,000 people in the Bandiagara area will be seriously affected by the food shortage.

Sally Haydock is the head of the UN’s World Food Programme in Mali. She said, “It’s clear that people have fewer than two months’ stocks after the harvest.” The UN agency expects those stocks to run out by the end of January.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.irinnews.org/report/99479/mali-s-dogon-hit-by-double-crisis

3-Mauritania: Rural exodus causes crisis

For decades, working-age men in rural Mauritania have fled to towns and cities in search of work, causing social disruption in rural areas.

The international NGOs Caritas and Action Against Hunger estimate that over 75 per cent of working-age men in villages in two regions of the country have migrated to the capital, Nouakchott, and other towns.

Divorce rates in some rural areas have risen dramatically, and adolescents and children are dropping out of school. The Secretary-General of the Ministry of Rural Development says that this trend has been in evidence for 40 years.

Mauritania’s government and aid agencies are trying to encourage men to stay at home by boosting rural incomes and food security. They plan to distribute small plots of land and livestock in targeted areas.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.irinnews.org/report/99478/rural-exodus-disrupts-social-order-in-mauritania

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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-International Year of Family Farming

Smallholder farmers grow 70 per cent of the world’s food, yet 50 per cent of the world’s hungry are small-scale farmers, according to the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM).

The year 2014 has been dubbed by the United Nations the “International Year of Family Farming” and the UN hopes to emphasize strengthening family farms.

IFOAM is calling for increased awareness about the poverty of many smallholder farmers, and how organic agriculture can help lift them out of poverty. The UN supports organic agriculture as a sustainable method to achieve food security in sub-Saharan Africa.

To read the full article, go to: http://allafrica.com/stories/201401140222.html

2-South Sudan: Deteriorating humanitarian situation increases food insecurity

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is warning the international community that the worsening humanitarian situation in South Sudan threatens food security.

The gains made by South Sudan in the two years since independence are in jeopardy, says FAO, and the organization is increasingly concerned about getting seeds, livestock vaccines, fishing gear and other agricultural inputs to farmers who need them.

The United Nations’ Crisis Response Plan, along with FAO, is seeking $61 million US for crucial food assistance and livelihood activities to support rural and urban families disrupted by conflict and displacement in South Sudan.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.sociolingo.com/violence-in-south-sudan-could-increase-hunger-and-food-insecurity-61-million-needed-to-protect-and-rebuild-food-security-and-livelihoods-of-south-sudanese/

3-Kenya: Government invests in aquaculture

The Kenyan government has invested $2.2 million Kenya shillings [$25,500 US] to construct 940 fish ponds in 47 counties across the country.

According to officials, the ponds will be established at secondary schools, and the funding will go toward liners, fingerlings and feed. Selected students will be trained in modern fish farming skills.

In 2009, the Kenyan government launched the Economic Stimulus Program to boost investment in aquaculture. The objectives of the program are to invest in long-term solutions to the challenges of food security, while creating jobs and economic opportunities for rural Kenyans. Four small-scale fish processing plants have been constructed in four Kenyan counties.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.africanfarming.net/livestock/aquaculture/kenyan-government-invests-us-2-2mn-in-construction

4-EAC guidelines on preventing avian flu

The East African Community, or EAC, along with Kenya’s Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, has issued guidelines on how to prevent the spread of avian flu, also known as H5N1 avian influenza.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, or FAO, warned recently about the re-emergence of the disease in the northern hemisphere as the winter season approaches.

Health experts say the disease is spread in a number of ways, but mainly through infected birds and contaminated feed, equipment, cages and shoes. FAO and the Kenyan ministry want EAC member states to distribute information on early detection and on how to prevent an outbreak of the disease.

To read the full story, go to: http://www.africanfarming.net/livestock/poultry/eac-issues-guidelines-to-prevent-avian-flu

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