Logo: Farm Radio Weekly

1404 Scott Street,
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1Y 4M8

Tel: 613-761-3650
Fax: 613-798-0990
Toll-Free: 1-888-773-7717
Email: info@farmradio.org
Web Site: http://farmradio.org/

Farm Radio Weekly is a news and information service for rural radio broadcasters in sub-Saharan Africa. It is published by Farm Radio International.

Issue #122

Hello all!

We begin by welcoming our new subscribers this week:  Nawa Mutumweno, from the  Agri-Business Forum, in  Zambia; Peter Kiptanui, from Nandi Environmental Forum, in Kenya; Niall Deacon, from Purecircle Kenya Ltd., in Kenya; Abu Kawenja, from CBS, in Uganda; Lusenge Babu, from UCG and Mulembo wa Sangwa, a farmer, both in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Koffi Kouame Philippe, from ANADER, in Ivory Coast, and Rock S. Tonou, from CRAPA-Bénin, in Bénin.

Our first news item is from the Sahel. It examines current efforts to improve long-term food security and resilience to shocks such as drought.  In Burkina Faso, women are learning that local crops like sesame and baobab fruit are nutritious, and can easily be added to the family’s diet.  Other ideas being promoted in the region include drip irrigation and micro-dosing of fertilizer.

From the DRC, we hear how parallel but sometimes conflicting systems of land administration can contribute to land disputes. Some farmers in DRC have lost their claims to land. Refugees returning from Rwanda may find it difficult to re-establish their lives on land they formerly claimed as their own.

There is still time for entrepreneurs to apply for the SEED Awards. Our script of the week looks at vegetable sack gardening. The script describes how to establish your own sack garden.

We will be taking a one week break from publishing. The next issue of Farm Radio Weekly will be published on Monday, 16 August. Until then,

Happy reading!

-The Farm Radio Weekly Team

Post your comment »

In this week’s Farm Radio Weekly:

African Farm News in Review

1. Sahel: Fighting malnutrition with local food security and water management initiatives (IRIN, RFI, Reuters, BBC, ICRISAT)

2. DRC: Addressing land disputes through decentralization and mediation (Syfia Grands Lacs, IRIN)

Upcoming Events

-SEED Awards 2010: Deadline August 16, 2010

Radio Resource Bank

-Key principles for the disability-conscious journalist

Farm Radio Action

-Farm Radio International survey on script packages

Farm Radio Script of the Week

-Sack farming: Unlimited vegetable harvest!

Post your comment »

Sahel: Fighting malnutrition with local food security and water management initiatives (IRIN, RFI, Reuters, BBC, ICRISAT)

Almost half the people in Niger are suffering from malnutrition. On average, 6,000 children are registered in therapeutic feeding centres each week, according to UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Across the Sahel, aid organizations provide emergency relief. They also promote food security, plus initiatives on water and nutrition in the region.

In Burkina Faso, health workers train women on the nutritional value of local foods. Koné Blandine is a midwife and nutrition trainer with an NGO called Eau Vive. In Gorom-Gorom, northern Burkina Faso, she shows local women how to make porridge fortified with local foods such as tamarind, soumbala (a local bean), fish and baobab fruit. The women in turn teach fellow villagers. Communities who know the nutritional value of local food and can conserve and use it, are far less vulnerable.

Juste Hermann Nansi is Eau Vive’s country director in Burkina Faso. He believes that promoting local foods is a way to combat dependence. “The Sahel region regularly faces drought, water shortages and malnutrition, and this has meant almost perpetual outside assistance. That affects people’s mentality,” Nansi says. “If our approach proves effective, people will have less need for outside help to fight malnutrition.”

Across the Sahel, lack of water affects agriculture, hygiene and nutrition. Lack of water is caused by the climate as well as by poor infrastructure. Drip irrigation is one technique for using water more efficiently.

Helen Keller International, or HKI, is an NGO which plans to distribute household drip irrigation kits to 300 families in eastern Burkina Faso. These families are planting gardens to grow nutritious vegetables. Drip irrigation is not widely used in individual gardens, but is common in commercial ventures.

“… given the water shortages, we are introducing this technique for home gardens to continue encouraging families to grow and eat nutritious foods,” says Olivier Vebamba from HKI. Drip irrigation also conserves water. It uses 40 litres of water per day to irrigate a garden of 20 square metres. Mr. Vebamba says that the watering cans normally used by villagers would consume 240 litres for the same area.

Smallholders in Senegal have had success with drip irrigation kits. “With the watering cans, we couldn’t do more than one harvest per year. With this innovation, we can do as many as three, so our earnings are multiplied by three,” says Yamar Diop, a 73-year-old father of ten.

In Niger, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, or ICRISAT, recommends fertilizer micro-dosing to improve yields during droughts.

Farmer Seydou Boubacar and his wife Zaina use the technique. They apply a good pinch of fertilizer directly to the plant roots. Since using the method, Mr. Boubacar has almost tripled his harvests and increased his wealth. “When I started micro-dosing in 2000, I had only two sheep, but today I have 20 sheep, 20 goats, two cattle and 10 donkeys,” he says.

Jupiter Ndjeunga works with ICRISAT. “If only one quarter of Niger’s farmers had practiced fertilizer micro-dosing in 2009, the grain shortfall could have been prevented,” he says.

Dov Pasternak is head of the Sahel program at ICRISAT. He says that food relief in Niger “… will cost millions, but how much is being spent on agriculture? I have a gut feeling the ratio is huge in favour of food relief,” he says.

3 Comments - Post your comment »

DRC: Addressing land disputes through decentralization and mediation (Syfia Grands Lacs, IRIN)

Land disputes are common in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, commonly known as DRC.  Under the 1973 Land Act, the state owns all land. But most land in DRC is allocated by chiefs, who administer it under customary law.

In DRC, the power of traditional chiefs over land is recognized legally. Chiefs have the right to sell land without the consent of the owner. That’s what happened to a farmer in Lubero, who wishes to remain anonymous. “I come from an appearance at the High Court of Butembo. I came to solve the problem of my field that our chief has sold. But the chief simply replied to the judge that he had to leave him alone because he is old and waiting for his death. The judge was left with no choice but to leave my field in the hands of the buyer.” These kinds of disputes arise every week.

In the villages near Butembo in North Kivu province, people hope that the new policy of decentralization will help settle land disputes. Decentralization will mean that chiefs no longer have influence over land.

Mr. Gilbert Kyatsinge is a Legal Adviser in the Ministry of Decentralization and Regional Planning. He says that “… laws will soon clarify the situation. Decentralization will perhaps help us to end this system which is neither customary nor administrative.” He states that decentralization is already underway, but it may be some time before it is effective at the local level.

Chiefs see decentralization as simply a way to steal their land. Jacques Mukosasenge represents the chiefs of Bamat. He says that for them, “Decentralization is an attempt to end their customary courts, which were recognized by the Congolese constitution.” But the new legal status of traditional leaders in relation to the government has yet to be clarified by parliament.

This complex situation awaits the tens of thousands of Congolese Tutsi refugees who are preparing to return to North Kivu.  More than 53,000 refugees have been living in Rwanda for more than a decade.

“Land issues are going to be one of the major hurdles to [their] return,” says Masti Notz, from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) office in North Kivu. Almost 800,000 people are internally displaced in this province. Continuing ethnic and political tensions further complicate the situation for returning refugees.

Dieudonne Kanyamugengu, from Rutshuru district, came back from Rwanda with his brother and his cows. He says he came in search of “food and peace.” He returned to his village, but fought with his Hutu neighbours over land. “I’m not safe there,” he says. The brothers  returned to a camp for the internally displaced.

Jules Mbokani coordinates a Norwegian Refugee Council project in DRC. He has received many reports of returnees in limbo. “People have been returning since September 2009 but many haven’t arrived back in their original villages, because of conflicts over land and security.”

Analysts say that other mechanisms are needed to  address land disputes. For example, UN-HABITAT, the UN Human Settlements Programme, thinks mobile land mediation teams are one solution. These teams would assist refugees and internally displaced persons. Since September 2009, a team of six mediators has dealt with 450 cases in North Kivu alone – about 20 per cent of which have been resolved. Camilla Olson works with the organization Refugees International. She says, “If we can be proactive, we can set the stage for positive returns.”

3 Comments - Post your comment »

Notes to broadcasters on long-term development efforts

This story highlights long-term measures that communities and families can adopt to make them less vulnerable to drought and hunger. Farmers can implement certain systems and techniques to make their farming system more robust and improve their chances of recovering after shocks such as droughts or crop failures.

The three techniques covered in the story are: use of local foods, drip irrigation and micro-dosing of fertilizer.

Many locally available foods −  including amaranth, green leaves and sesame − are nutritious and versatile.  They can easily be grown around homesteads and used in times of need.  General information about such crops can be found here: http://www2.bioversityinternational.org/Themes/Neglected_and_Underutilized_Species/index.asp.

A document about leafy vegetables called “The benefits of traditional vegetables: One Community’s story” can be downloaded here: http://www.bioversityinternational.org/index.php?id=19&user_bioversitypublications_pi1[showUid]=2951.

Drip irrigation is an effective way to water thirsty vegetable crops. But it can be expensive for small-scale farmers to establish drip systems. Farmers need assured markets in order to make the initial investment. They also need a secure water supply. If drip irrigation were adopted on a large scale, it could impact water sources which are already under stress, as in Burkina Faso. For more discussion of and descriptions of drip irrigation, here are some links:

http://practicalaction.org/practicalanswers/product_info.php?products_id=56

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6452QZ20100506?feedType=RSS&feedName=everything&virtualBrandChannel=11563

A short video about drip irrigation in West Africa:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQZxvYW3Ac0

A related news story from Zimbabwe:

http://allafrica.com/stories/201007080324.html

Micro-dosing of fertilizer has produced impressive results in Niger. Scientists at ICRISAT explain that the soils are so depleted of nutrients that they respond well to small amounts of inputs. One constraint is that fertilizer is usually sold in 25kg bags, which are either too expensive or too great a quantity to be cost-effective for small-scale farmers.

For more information on ICRISAT’ s work in Niger, see: http://www.icrisat.org/newsroom/latest-news/one-pager/africa-hunger/africa-hunger-crisis.htm.

A photo gallery about micro-dosing of fertilizers in Niger can be viewed at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-10698153.

Here are some relevant Farm Radio International scripts:

A healthy diet for babies and young children Package 69, Script 1, December 2003 http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/69-1script_en.asp

Winning the Race with Traditional Foods Package 65, Script 4, October 2002 http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/65-4script_en.asp

Drip irrigation Package 84, Script 12, August 2008 http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/84-12script_en.asp

Supply Water Directly to Plant Roots with Pitcher and Drip Irrigation Package 71, Script 10, June 2004 http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/71-10script_en.asp

Micro-doses of Fertilizer Increase Yields in the Sahel Package 79, Script 4, November 2006 http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/79-4script_en.asp

Dr. Compost Answers Questions About Soil Improvement Package 61, Script 9, October 2001 http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/61-9script_en.asp

The availability of water and how water is applied to a crop is fundamental when deciding which crops to plant and when.  You might like to produce a radio program about irrigation methods.

-What methods of irrigation are common in the region?

-How do these irrigation methods affect farmers’ choice of crops?

-How much information is available to farmers on new or improved irrigation methods?

-Is there local support for investing in irrigation?

-How could farmers benefit from better irrigation in your broadcast area? Would they be able to, for example, grow more crops per season?

Post your comment »

Notes to broadcasters on land disputes

This story looks at land ownership issues in DRC. The customary power of the traditional chiefs allows them to sell farmers’ land without their consent. Yet national laws exist, and state that the government owns all land. With two parallel legal systems, conflicts over land ownership are common. If the national policy of decentralization is widely recognized and proves effective, this situation may change.

These circumstances are even more confusing and tense for refugees returning to reclaim land. Other farmers may have taken over their land. Legal papers may not be recognized or available. This complex situation is difficult for anyone who just wants to make a peaceful living from the land. If farmers cannot prove land ownership, they cannot use land as collateral for loans. In addition women, cannot own land without their husband’s consent.

For a detailed backgrounder on land conflict issues in the Great Lakes region, see:

www.odi.org.uk/resources/download/1602.pdf.

Here are three Farm Radio Weekly stories that show a successful return to land:

-Fifty years after independence, families finally have land to call their own (FRW #73, July 2009) http://weekly.farmradio.org/2009/07/13/kenya-fifty-years-after-independence-families-finally-have-land-to-call-their-own-irin/

-Southern Africa: Farm workers become farm owners (FRW# 69, June 2009)
http://weekly.farmradio.org/2009/06/08/3-southern-africa-farm-workers-become-farm-owners-inter-press-service-the-namibian/

-Namibia: Bushmen return to ancestral lands (FRW# 49, December 2008) http://weekly.farmradio.org/2008/12/22/2-namibia-bushmen-return-to-ancestral-lands-agence-france-presse/

Land laws and rights to land are a hot topic in many countries. You may be inspired to produce a show investigating this in detail. You could consider various angles:

Land rights
-Are there peoples in your country who were displaced by former regimes and who are now resettled, or wish to resettle their ancestral lands?
-Are there national laws, policies and procedures to return land to those who have been displaced? If so, are they being implemented? If not, why not?
-If peoples have been resettled, through what process did they obtain the right to return to the land?
-What challenges did these people face after resettlement and how did they overcome them?
-If people have been resettled on farmland, do they have the skills and financial resources to make a living as farmers? Have any retraining programs been put in place? What national or local organizations, governmental agencies, or NGOs are working on this issue?
-Are resettled people discarding traditional land uses in favour of new uses? If so, why?
-If legal proceedings are underway to resolve a land claim, what arguments are being considered?

Post your comment »

SEED Awards 2010: Deadline August 16, 2010

Social and environmental entrepreneurs can now submit applications for the annual SEED Awards.

The SEED Awards for Entrepreneurship in Sustainable Development are an annual awards program. The awards are designed to recognize the most promising and innovative social and environmental entrepreneurs in countries with developing and emerging economies. The program is administered by the SEED Initiative.

SEED Awards do not carry a cash prize. Rather, SEED offers winners a range of business services and support. The support package is tailored to suit individual needs. It may include assistance with business plans, high-level profiling of the initiative, and access to relevant institutions, organizations and businesses.

This year, the SEED Awards have a special focus on Africa. While SEED is inaugurating its first country program in South Africa, it will also concentrate on Burkina Faso, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda and Senegal.

Detailed eligibility criteria are available at: http://seedinit.org/en/awards/about-the-seed-awards/eligibility-criteria.html. Send applications before August 16, 2010.

For more information about SEED Awards and how to apply, visit: http://seedinit.org/en/awards.html.

Post your comment »

Key principles for the disability-conscious journalist

The following ten principles are adapted from a section of The Invisible People: A Practical Guide for Journalists on How to Include Persons with Disabilities. The guide was developed by the Secretariat of the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities. It provides guidelines for journalists who wish to support and promote the human rights of people with disabilities.

The guide includes background information on disability in Africa, looks at disability as a rights issue, and provides information on the main issues affecting persons with disabilities, such as employment, poverty, and access to buildings. A list of preferred terminology is provided, to ensure that journalists use words that do not offend or discriminate. The full guide can be found online, here: http://www.africandecade.org/trainingmaterials/journalist-training-manual.

1. Put the person at centre stage, not the disability. Describe persons with disabilities as you would anyone else, with both human strengths and weaknesses. Do not focus on disabilities, unless they are crucial to a story. If you want to report on disability issues, focus instead on concerns that affect the quality of life for those individuals, such as accessible transportation, housing, affordable health care, employment opportunities, and discrimination.

2. Show persons with disabilities as active members of society. Write about persons with disabilities as providers of expertise, services and assistance. This will help break through the stereotype of seeing persons with disabilities only as recipients of charity, services and goodwill. Show or describe individuals with disabilities in the same everyday situations in which you describe other people.

3. Show persons with disabilities as part of the general public. Make an effort to seek out persons with disabilities when you report on issues that are important in your community. If you do not know how to find or contact a disabled person, call a local disabled persons’ organization and ask for assistance.

4. Let people have their own voice. Let everybody have their own voice and use their own words. When talking with a person with a disability, speak directly to that person rather than to a companion or interpreter. If you offer assistance to the person you are interviewing, wait until the offer is accepted before acting. Then listen to or ask for instructions on how you can help.

5. Avoid common stereotypes: the superhero and the victim. Do not portray successful people with disabilities as superhuman or as heroes. Also, do not present persons whose disability results from a prior disease episode as if they are still suffering from the disease. Do not associate disease with people whose disability results from anatomical or physiological damage (e.g., persons with spina bifida or cerebral palsy). Refer to diseases associated with a disability only with chronic diseases such as arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, or multiple sclerosis. People with disabilities should never be referred to as “patients” or “cases” unless their relationship with their doctor is under discussion.

6. Support the human rights approach. If you make an effort to treat persons with disabilities as citizens with a right to participate in all sectors of society, you support the human rights model of disability. It is all about inclusion and respect.

7. Work with journalists with disabilities. Unless persons with disabilities are able to be the makers of their own images, their lives will constantly be represented on the basis of other people’s assumptions.

8. Communicate with disability organizations. If persons with disabilities do not contact you or bring their ideas and opinions to your attention, phone a local disabled persons’ organization and ask for an interview or a comment. Building a relationship with an organization may generate a lot of good ideas and contacts that will benefit you in future work.

9. Persons with disabilities are not only interested in disability issues. There are persons with disabilities in all sectors of society, and in all sorts of professions. Do not miss out on their knowledge and expertise.

10. Be honest. It is all right to be insecure, and to want to learn. Ask the person that you are interviewing about things that you do not understand.

3 Comments - Post your comment »

Sack farming: Unlimited vegetable harvest!

This script tells the story of Michael Musembi. Mr. Musembi was a farmer until he lost his land. He moved to the city and fell on hard times. Then he discovered sack farming. With no land, he was able to provide nutritious vegetables for his family. In this script, he explains how to grow vegetables in sacks. This idea can be adapted to many circumstances. Vegetables can be grown in various containers, and placed on doorsteps, rooftops or terraces − wherever there is sunlight.

The script is available at the following address: http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/90-9script_en.asp.

Post your comment »