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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.


Fences, clinics and bees: Another day in the life of an African farmer

Thank you for taking the time to open this Farm Radio Weekly email. In issue #293, we present three stories about farmers in Congo-Brazzaville, Tanzania and Zambia who are dealing with very different situations.

The ongoing conflict between plant-growing and animal-herding farmers is nothing new. Livestock farmers in Congo-Brazzaville allow their animals to roam free, meaning that crops are often eaten or destroyed. New legislation may solve the problems that crop growers and their families are facing.

Many farmers live in remote areas, and extension workers often have a problem getting to them. One solution is “plant clinics,” which were recently introduced in Tanzanian markets. Farmers bring their problem plants to a waiting “crop doctor.”

Joseph Lungu may not be formally educated, but he recognized a good thing when he saw it! The farmer turned his exhausted patch of sandy land into a forested haven for bees, and is reaping a new harvest – honey.

The annual World Day to Combat Desertification is marked on June 17. Check out our Event section, where you can find UN resources and information, as well as a link to Farm Radio materials on this subject.

Have a good week!

the Farm Radio Weekly team

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Contract farming, overstocking, and rural radio schools

Welcome to Farm Radio Weekly! In issue #291, we bring you stories from West and Central Africa on contract farming, cattle populations, and educating young people via community radio stations.

Zimbabwe’s government recently blocked imports of fresh foods from its neighbours. With agronomic and financial support from supermarkets, small-scale farmers are acting together in co-operatives to fill the gap in the supply chain.

Cattle in South Sudan are not primarily raised for their meat: they are symbols of wealth and status. Though farm livestock outnumber humans by nearly three to one, animals are imported for slaughter to feed the population. Because the animal numbers are so high, the land is becoming degraded and water supplies exhausted.

Educating a thinly-spread rural population can be a headache for governments. Even with free primary education, many children cannot get to faraway schools. So the school comes to them! Radio sets across Zambia broadcast the school curriculum, allowing many more children to get an education.

Radio stations have a role to play in their listening communities, be they local or national. Our Resource section highlights a handbook which can help broadcasters engage listening audiences in a discussion about nutrition. And, in our Action section, Tanzanian radio stations are using the airwaves in conjunction with mobile phones to actively measure farmers’ opinions on the state of agriculture today. Find out more below!

Keep listening to your audiences, as they listen to you!

-The Farm Radio Weekly team

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Developing a value chain, and making a stand for your industry

A very warm welcome from the Farm Radio Weekly office! Whether you’re suffering from the heat or getting rained on, there are three stories in issue #290 designed to inspire your programming and your listeners.

Guidimouni is a town in eastern Niger that is famed for its tomatoes. But now the women behind its success are considering taking the next step – working at different levels of the value chain to improve their profits.

Organic farmers in Zambia want to change the government’s policies on seed imports and genetically modified crops. One woman, Annemieke de Vos, has established a recognized brand which she sells to food retailers. But more can be done to protect this fledgling industry.

The Senegalese government has sold fishing rights to deep-sea trawlers from European Union countries. Local fisherfolk are crying foul and, backed by an international NGO, are demanding that their livelihoods be protected from the industrial fishing fleet.

The deadline for the 2014 Kurt Schork awards is nearing. Make sure you read our Event section and find out how to get your entry in on time!

Keep on entertaining!

The Farm Radio Weekly team

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Entrepreneurs use passion, intuition and knowledge to make a buck

Warm greetings to you from Farm Radio Weekly! In issue #289, you will find three stories about small-scale African farmers and the work they are doing to enrich their lives and livelihoods.

Cameroonian Daniel Nkodo wants to become a large-scale farmer, but the high cost of land means he cannot fulfil his dream – yet! Meanwhile, he pours his enthusiasm for farming into a nursery which supplies seedlings to farmers.

In Côte d’Ivoire, rabbit farmer Gomon Moïse Beucklerc was spending too much time and energy cleaning his cages. So he designed and built an alternative, easier-to-clean system. Now he earns extra income by selling the cages to other small-animal farmers.

John Melau-Laizer discovered that the farming techniques he learned from his father were perfectly suited to the practise of permaculture. He now manages an organic farm near Arusha in Tanzania. The earnings from the crops and animals keep a dozen orphans in food, and in school.

There is more information about rabbit farming and how to build good cages in the Script of the Week. Check out that section below.

Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle and care for them, and pretty soon you
have a dozen.

Have a good week!

-the Farm Radio Weekly team

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Opportunities, threats, and the future of African farming

Greetings! In issue #288, you will find stories aboutbiofortified crops, albinism, and the challenges of attracting young Africans to farming.

One of the biggest problems that impoverished people face is ensuring that their diets contain the full range of vitamins and minerals essential for healthy living. One solution is to grow crops that are better sources of these nutrients. Our story highlights a Tanzanian businessman who seized the opportunity to cash in on orange–fleshed sweet potatoes.

People living with albinism often face serious problems from exposure to the sun. This can be particularly serious for African albinos whose livelihoods depend on farming. Now the Liberia Albino Society is campaigning for help to protect themselves against skin cancer.

Unless more young people can be persuaded to take up the family business, the future of African agriculture is under threat. Entrepreneurs are needed in any industry and farming is no exception. Is enough being done to persuade young Africans to stay in their fields rather than migrate to cities?

Our Script of the week looks at how to persuade young peopleto believe that staying at home is preferable to migrating to cities. The two-part script presents an opportunity to raise thisissue with young people and create an ongoing radio series based on their experiences in your listening communities.

Everyone needs support and guidance. But it is essential to find out exactly what kind of support and guidance people want and need.

Keep your finger on the pulse of your communities.​

-The Farm Radio Weekly team

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Overcoming challenges to livelihoods: Success stories

Hello, and welcome to Farm Radio Weekly. In issue #287, our correspondents’ stories bring slices of African farmers’ lives to your desktop.

Women in Congo-Brazzaville must often engage in petty trading to bolster their incomes, despite holding professional jobs. Urban gardening is one way to maximize the profits from these extra activities.

The Upper Kitete Co-operative in northern Tanzania was founded fifty years ago as part of then-President Nyerere’s village settlement program. But life has changed over the years for co-op members, as population pressure and problems with soil fertility have become more pronounced.

The impacts of war and internal conflict affect farmers across Africa. But survivors of the Lord’s Resistance Army campaign against the Ugandan government are starting to rebuild their lives in a constructive fashion.

This issue’s Script of the Week focuses on a co-operative in Malawi – how it started, its achievements and challenges. It highlights the strengths and the benefits of co-operatives. Read more below.

The secret to success is working together to achieve it!

Let’s get those airwaves buzzing!

the Farm Radio Weekly team

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Freedom: What can you do without it?

Another week, another Farm Radio Weekly! Welcome to issue #286, with stories from East and Central Africa.

Coffee growing is traditionally dominated by men in Tanzania, but women who farm the coffee-rich slopes of Mount Meru are discovering that they can make extra money by growing and selling vegetables.

Kenyan farmers are learning to make their soils healthier and more productive by using lime to counteract the acidification caused by overuse of chemical fertilizers.

As the unrest in the Central African Republic continues, neighbouring countries are receiving waves of refugees. As people continue to cross the border into Cameroon, there is an increasing strain on townspeople’s resources.

May 3 is World Press Freedom Day. Check our Event and Resource sections to find out more about this important occasion.

Enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the following: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference, and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers.

Keep broadcasting!

the Farm Radio Weekly team

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Changing things for the better

Thank you for opening issue #285 of Farm Radio Weekly. In this edition, you will find stories from our field correspondents about pastoralists turning towards crops, and young people interested in radio journalism.

From Kenya comes the news that women Maasai are growing their own vegetables for sale, and that men are considering growing crops to feed their livestock. As the climate changes, these strategies may become essential.

Disadvantaged youth across Africa are finding it difficult to find work other than begging and selling cheap goods. But a Tanzanian initiative is bringing youth into radio and television studios. Many are showing a talent for communicating their problems and experiences in a lucid and intelligent way.

Get involved with Earth Day! Every year on April 22, over a billion people in 190 countries take action for Earth Day. From Cairo to Cape Town, Dakar to Djibouti, Africans plant trees, clean up their communities, contact their elected officials, and more – all for the environment. Find out more in the Resource section!

Here is a test to find out whether your mission on Earth is finished: if you’re alive, it isn’t.

–        The Farm Radio Weekly team

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Healthy! Staples, vegetables and insurance

Welcome to Farm Radio Weekly issue #284. We hope this email finds you happy and healthy!

FRW brings you three stories from our correspondents in Africa: farmers adopting improved varieties of traditional crops in Kenya, Rwandan women digging up their flower beds to grow vegetables for their families, and Zimbabwean small-scale farmers discovering the benefits of crop and livestock insurance.

By planting improved local varieties of traditional crops, Kenyan farmers are improving their yields and feeding their families better than before.

The Rwandan government has promoted family farming for many years, but recently Rwandan women are replacing their flower gardens and renovating unused backyards to provide fresh and tasty vegetables for their tables.

In Zimbabwe, severe droughts have led to crop failures and deaths of livestock. Now farmers are being offered insurance policies that protect their investments should the rains fail.

In honour of World Health Day 2014, our resource section includes links to information which you can use to highlight the damage done to your communities by disease-carrying organisms.

To keep the body in good health is a duty … otherwise we shall not be able to keep the mind strong and clear.

the Farm Radio Weekly team

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Sweet potatoes and sweet savings

Thank you for taking the time to read this issue of Farm Radio Weekly. In issue #283, there are stories frrom Zimbabwe on sweet potatoes, from Ghana on the benefits of co-operative savings schemes and from Liberia about an outbreak of Ebola.

City dwellers in Zimbabwe are growing the food for their tables to counter rises in the price of bread and maize flour. They are turning to a popular rural staple − sweet potatoes!

Dunwaa Soayare’s life changed for the better after she joined a local women’s savings group. By taking small loans, the widow is protecting herself and her family from crop failure and investing in the future.

An outbreak of Ebola in Liberia is worrying local farmers. Many are thinking about abandoning their farmlands to protect their families.

In our resource section, Farm Radio Weekly offers you a French-language guide on how to represent women in the media, and presents an interactive English-language guide to women’s rights across the globe.

-the Farm Radio Weekly team

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World Water Day 2014: Water and energy

Farm Radio Weekly welcomes you to issue #282!

This edition of the Weekly celebrates World Water Day by bringing you stories about water scarcity in Kenya and Ethiopia. We also profile a woman in Benin who overcame her failure at school to create a successful farm.

Marked annually on March 22, World Water Day is an international event which celebrates the fundamental requirement of life: water.

Rusinga Island is a rocky outcrop in the Kenyan waters of Lake Victoria. Lacking safe and accessible supplies on the island, its residents have been forced to use polluted lake water for their domestic needs.

From Ethiopia comes news that large underground aquifers in the country refill after the rains. This groundwater offers citizens the prospect of clean water for years to come.

Laure Nakounon is a Beninese woman who is passionate about farming. Since she was a child, she has believed that the answers lie in the soil. After failing to graduate from school, she found a way to start up her own farm. She continues to inspire other women to follow her lead and realize their own potential.

Check out the Resource section. On top of information about this year’s World Water Day, the Weekly brings you a link to the proceedings of the UN’s 58th Commission on the Status of Women. Journalists who are interested in women’s rights will find useful links as well as a live webcast.

Agriculture, like life, is entirely dependent on water, so use this opportunity to raise the subject with your listeners!

-the Farm Radio Weekly Team

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Hello to all!

Comments Off on Hello to all!

A warm welcome to all!

This week, we offer a special welcome to our newest subscribers: Wellington Mpeniasah from the African Farm Radio Research Initiative and Kakraba Quarshie from Radio Peace, both in Ghana, Alice Van der Elstraeten from the Ministry of Agriculture in Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Newton Samangwe, a farmer at Villaton Farms in Zambia.

This week’s news stories will bring you up to date on a number of current issues in African agriculture. Biofuels may be the hottest topic in agriculture today, as proponents call it an opportunity for rural wealth and development, and critics fear that it will lead to food shortages by replacing food crops with “fuel crops.” Nourou-Dhine Salouka and Jade Productions visited the Nayala province of Burkina Faso to speak with farmers who have a plan to process jatropha into biodiesel for their own use, in hopes of increasing their profits and local food security.

We also have some important news on the growing trend of urban agriculture. The International Water Management Institute has released a report on the risks of using wastewater in agriculture. We review the key points from this report as well as some techniques used by farmers to make wastewater safer. Finally, we turn to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a country looking to revive its fishing industry. At a time when many countries are experimenting with fish farming, we see how this country is rebuilding a once bustling industry.

Finally, we have good news for those who have not yet completed the FRW subscriber survey. The deadline for completing the survey has been extended to September 1. Please take a few moments today to help us better understand how you use FRW and what you’d like to see in future issues. The survey can be found online, here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=9HOchcedv077TyFYi_2bXMPQ_3d_3d. We look forward to hearing from you!

Happy reading!

-The Farm Radio Weekly Team

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Hello to all!

We are thrilled that word of Farm Radio Weekly is spreading across the African continent, as we see new subscribers signing up each week. From Ghana, we welcome Kakraba Quarshie from Radio Peace and Frank Osei Wusu from Nkosuo Radio, from Kenya, Lydiah Kiburu of the Africa Communication and Development Institute and John K. Cheburet from The Organic Farmer, from Benin, Kassim Zato from Radio Communautaire FM NONSINAN, from Togo, Philippe Kossi Kpoble Togbe from Radio Horizon – la voix du Zio, and from Uganda, Patrick Luganda from Vision Voice FM Radio.

This week’s news stories touch on two large and complex issues. From a variety of news items published in South African and Namibian media, we have produced a story featuring examples of farm workers obtaining improved employment rights, including better living conditions and access to education and medical care. We also drew upon excellent reporting by The Monitor newspaper in Kampala to produce a story about farmers and scientists raising concerns about the increasing use of hybrid crops and their calls for the preservation of traditional crops. These are just two examples of important issues that cannot be fully covered in an individual news story, but which broadcasters can decide to explore over time.

Finally, we would like to remind everyone about our survey. The survey asks how you use FRW, what you like or don’t like about the service, and what you’d like to see in the future. We have already received some great feedback and look forward to reading more responses. You can find the survey online at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=9HOchcedv077TyFYi_2bXMPQ_3d_3d. We have noticed that a number of people started to answer the survey, but did not complete it. If this happened to you, you can always return to the survey to answer the remainder of the questions.

Happy reading!

-The Farm Radio Weekly Team

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Warm Greetings to All!

This week we are pleased to welcome a new slate of African subscribers: Akiode Abdullahi Oluwasegun from the farmer’s organization Extra Trading Company in Nigeria, Yusuf Wakili Yola from Kano State Television in Nigeria, Grace Achisah from Radio Afram Plains /Afram Plains Development Organization in Ghana, and Doreen Rukaria from the Kenya Community Media Network in Kenya.

In this week’s FRW, we review an issue that you may have heard about in other news – the breakdown of Doha Development Round talks at the World Trade Organization. We look at different perspectives on why the talks failed and uncover some of the implications for small scale African farmers. We also focus our attention, once again, on Liberian farmers working to rebuild their livelihoods following a 14-year civil war. Our story tells of cocoa farmers who have received support to revive their plantations.

Today you should also receive a survey about Farm Radio Weekly in your inbox. This short survey asks how you use FRW, how useful you find various sections, and your opinion on ideas we have for future issues. Your responses will shape the future of FRW – we look forward to reading them! If you are an FRW subscriber but did not receive the survey, or if you have any difficulty opening or filling out the survey, please contact Nelly Bassily at nbassily@farmradio.org.

Happy reading!

-The Farm Radio Weekly Team

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Hello to all!

Welcome to another issue packed with news on African agricultural developments. We extend a special greeting to our newest subscribers, Tou Zoumana, from the NGO CIRDES, in Burkina Faso, and Tigistu Amsalu Oljira, from the Agriculture and Rural Development Office of Oromia Regional State, Ethiopia.

This week, we bring you the story of a major development in agricultural marketing – the new Ethiopia Commodity Exchange. Based in the capital of Addis Ababa and reaching out to farming communities around the country, this new exchange system is designed to make trading fair and reliable for farmers and traders. It’s been called a model that other African countries should follow – read the story and see what you think!

Two other stories update you on important agricultural diseases. H5N1 bird flu has once again been detected in parts of Nigeria. We explain some of the factors that can make a country susceptible to bird flu, and describe the steps farmers can take to keep it out of their farms. In Ghana, coastal regions have been hit with coconut lethal yellowing disease. We explore the impact of this disease on livelihoods, and one proposed way to mitigate the problem.

If you have not yet visited the Farm Radio Weekly website (http://weekly.farmradio.org/), why not check in out today? You can use the website to browse through past editions, cast your vote in a poll, and use the comments section to discuss the issues of the day with other readers.

Through the month of July, readers left thoughtful comments, telling how issues in the news resonate in their area. Responding to a news story about drip irrigation in Senegal, Emily Arayo wrote about an adaptation of this by Ugandan farmers. “In Uganda, farmers are using the plastic mineral water bottles to irrigate crops. This is done by making a small hole at the bottom of the bottle, which is placed at the root of the plant. This allows water to drip down to the roots of the plant,” she explained.

Reader Wikano was interested in an initiative supported by Farm Radio to help Nigerian farmers cope with climate change, and said it’s time for Kenyans to take action against climate change. Wikano writes, “It’s sad to witness people here in Kenya fell trees anyhow, clear the only standing rain forests. It’s so sad that even the struggle to curb the menace falls on deaf ears. Let us care about our every action as human beings.” We hope that this week’s news stories inspire you to share your thoughts with other readers.

Happy reading!

-The Farm Radio Weekly Team

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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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Hello to all!

We are pleased to welcome many new African subscribers this week! Three are from Ghana: Samuel Nii Quarcoo from the farmers’ organization Quarcoo Initiatives Ltd., Justice Kofi Sakutey from the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, and John Oheneba Konadu from the Bowiri Rural Radio Farmers Forum. We also welcome Tumaini Mwailenge from Faraja Development Trust in Tanzania, Ngotcho Tenke Vincent Marie from the NGO OVA in Cameroon, Pierre Kabwayintumba from the NGO Assistance pour le Développement Humain in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sagno Ezechiel from Les Amis de David in Guinea.

It seems that you can’t look at the news these days without seeing a story related to the high cost of food or the high cost of fuel. This week, we offer two stories that relate to both. Biofuels remain a hot topic because many people view fuel crops as a solution to dependence on fossil fuels, but the use of agricultural lands to produce fuel has been blamed, in part, for rising food prices and increased hunger. From Kenya, we report on a controversial plan to grow sugarcane for both ethanol and sugar on 20,000 hectares of coastal wetlands – and find out why local pastoralists say the plan threatens their livelihoods. We also have a story about farmers in different parts of the continent using draught power to increase food production without relying on tractors.

For your information, there will be no new FRW next week. We are taking a one-week publishing break and will return to your e-mail inboxes on Monday, July 28. In the meantime, why not visit the FRW website (http://farmradio.org/english/) and look through some past issues? Or browse through the Farm Radio International script archive at: http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/.

Happy reading!

-The Farm Radio Weekly Team

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Warm greetings to all!

We hope that the past week has been a good one for our readers across Africa and around the world! This week, we extend a special welcome to our newest African subscribers: Renatus Raphael from the RCADC kibengwe telecenter in Tanzania, George Ambwene from the KBC Community Initiative Services in Tanzania, Lazarus Musyoki from Radio Mang’elete in Kenya, Soumaré Demba from la voix du Guidimakha/Association Foyer du Guidimakha in Mauritania, Paul Ananou from Radio Mono FM Comè in Bénin.

Most farmers are interested in affordably boosting their crop yields. This week, we have two stories about farmers who have done just that. Lilianne Nyatcha, our correspondent from Cameroon, tells us about farmers in the town of Nkongsamba who found that manure is a great alterative to expensive chemical fertilizers. And from Uganda, we have the story of a women’s group whose quest for better seeds led them to establish a 450-member seed production cooperative.

We thank all those who have sent us prepared stories over the past few weeks. If you have not heard from us yet, we will contact you soon to discuss how your contribution can fit into a future issue of FRW! And remember, the FRW website (http://weekly.farmradio.org/) is a great place to post a comment sharing your experience with an issue!

Happy reading!

-The Farm Radio Weekly Team

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Warm greetings to all!

This week, we return to the subject of climate change and how it affects farmers. As the daily work and livelihood of farmers relies on weather and climate, farmers are among those most immediately affected by climate change.

This week’s news stories examine how farmers in different parts of the continent – southern Benin and western Zimbabwe – are coping with dramatic changes to the conditions in which they work. Farmers in both countries note that rainfall patterns are becoming more unpredictable. And rains that arrive quickly following periods of drought can destroy food crops and wash away land.

But we promise that both stories provide hope in the midst of these harsh conditions. Farmers in southern Benin are working to track climate and weather changes and understand the new agricultural cycle. Farmers in western Zimbabwe are learning new techniques to preserve water and produce food during periods of drought.

We have a poll on our website that asks, “Which issues related to agriculture and climate change interest your listeners the most?” Why not take a moment now and answer the poll by clicking on one of the answer buttons on the left-hand side of the page at: http://weekly.farmradio.org/.

And remember, for more on this subject, stay tuned for Farm Radio International’s next script package, where the winners of the CTA-Farm Radio script competition on African Farmers’ Adaptations to Climate Change will be published.

On a personal note, Farm Radio International was fortunate to receive two visitors from African partner stations in our Ottawa, Canada office, last week. We thank Bestway Zottor from the Tongu Community Multimedia Network in Ghanafor stopping by, and Joseph Sekiku, from FADECO FM in Tanzania, for sharing the story of his community radio station with our staff and donors. We would also like to welcome our newest African FRW subscribers, Brian Nyambe from the Mkushi Ministry of Africulture and Cooperatives in Zambia, Jacques Randriarimalala from the NGO RFA in Madagascar, and Gbamele Koffi Edouard from the organization AJSM in Ivory Coast.

Happy reading!

-The Farm Radio Weekly Team

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