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

Issue #296

Moving forward: Rubber trees, chickens and sunflower brighten the future

Welcome to Farm Radio Weekly! In issue #296 we look at small-scale rubber producers in Liberia, a fledgling poultry enterprise in Niger, and a different kind of oil bonanza in Uganda.

Rubber exports are essential to the Liberian economy. Small-scale farmers are investing in their rubber plantations, but face difficulties controlling insect pests. However, the returns on their investment should be good once the trees mature.

Maman Lawal moved to Libya, but returned to his native Niger when Libya fell into civil war. Mr. Lawal had not thought of himself as a farmer, but has made a successful business raising chickens for meat and eggs.

Farmers can make more money by processing their raw agricultural produce into commodity desired by consumers. Ugandan Dan Mawaki discovered this to be true for sunflower seeds, and now sells cooking oil and animal feeds.

Have you ever wondered how best to define your audience and tailor your programs to your listeners? The Resource section on the sidebar has a link to a free guide on targeting your audiences to help resolve conflicts.

Keep broadcasting!

The Farm Radio Weekly team

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Liberia: Small-scale rubber producers face challenges (by Prince Collins, for Farm Radio Weekly)

Martha Tamba is a small-scale rubber farmer. She is preparing for this year’s planting season by clearing her farmland in northern Liberia’s Lofa County. Though this small agricultural sector may not seem significant, it continues to play a pivotal role in the Liberian economy.

Rubber is Liberia’s largest export and the lifeblood of the country’s economy. Annual exports are worth nearly $200 million US.

Mrs. Tamba is a 42-year-old single mother who is trying to make ends meet. She says, “I depend on my small farm to cater [for] my children.” Her husband died ten years ago, and she relies on rubber sales to provide for her children and send them to school.

Mrs. Tamba sells a tonne of rubber for $700 US. She says: “I have used all the best practices and fertilizers for my young rubber trees to grow well. So I am very sure of getting more this harvest and making more money.”

The major challenge that small-scale rubber producers face is armyworm caterpillars. Farmers say they have incurred major losses this year from insect damage, particularly to young trees.

Mardia Taylor is a 46-year-old mother of six from central Grand Bassa County. She is dismayed by the level of damage the insects have caused on her farm. Mrs. Taylor says, “Every day the armyworms eat the leaves of the young trees. We spend a lot of money, but the situation is getting worse by the day.”

Small-scale farmers want agricultural institutions to help them protect their farms. Johnny Moore is a 54-year-old rubber farmer from Lofa County. He says something must be done now. He adds, “If nothing is done to help us, we will have no future harvest. We need chemicals to kill these insects. The insects are frustrating our efforts.”

Despite the damage caused by armyworms, some rubber farmers are optimistic about the future.

Thomas Cole is a 45-year-old father of four who says that so far he has been able to meet his family’s needs. But Mr. Cole admits there are challenges ahead, as capital and other resources are required to succeed at planting a good rubber farm.

He says: “I have pumped in more than $5,000 US in two years. I have to pay the workers, feed them, [and buy] fertilizers and other chemicals to get the rubber growing well. [But] I am investing because I know I will reap in the future.”

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Niger: Young farmer succeeds with chickens (Souleymane Maâzou, for Farm Radio Weekly)

Every morning, Maman Lawal jumps onto his motorbike and makes an important delivery to the local market – eggs.

Mr. Lawal inherited one hectare of land from his father on the outskirts of Niamey, Niger’s capital city. The 28-year-old poultry farmer wears a constant smile.

Mr. Lawal built a mud brick barn in the middle of his land. There is a large opening in every side of the barn to provide ventilation; troughs of food and water are placed on the white sand-covered floor. The field outside his barn is planted with millet, which Mr. Lawal grows to feed his small family − his mother, two brothers, and an uncle.

But Mr. Lawal has not always been a farmer. He thought of growing crops and raising livestock as things only for those with nothing better to do. He recalls, “I started farming and raising chickens in 2011, after I escaped the civil war in Libya.”

He started his farm with 53 chickens and 18 roosters purchased from farmers in and around Niamey. Three years later, Mr. Lawal has increased by nearly tenfold his laying flock.

Now, his farm gives him a sense of well-being and a comfortable position in local society. He earns between 30,000 and 40,000 Ouest African francs [$62-83 US] a day by selling eggs and chickens. Since his fame as a chicken farmer has increased, customers come from all over Niamey. He has no desire now to earn his living in any other way.

Mr. Lawal began by feeding his chickens millet and sorghum. Now he adds oilseed cake, peanuts, and poultry feeds he buys from the local veterinary outlet. A livestock agent vaccinates his flock against disease once a month.

Mr. Lawal wants to modernize his business by creating a company and employing other young people. He says, “I need equipment to disinfect the barn, an incubator, other breeds of chickens, and ingredients to make my own poultry feeds.”

The young farmer has inspired other young people, including Amadou Kollé. Mr. Kollé explains: “Mr. Lawal’s success with raising chickens has really fascinated me. I am going to get into [this business]. That is why, from time to time, I come to ask him for his advice.”

In order to grow his business, Mr. Lawal has applied for a loan from a local microfinance institution. Once the loan is granted, he will be able to buy the equipment he needs to increase his income and profits.

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Uganda: Farmer’s life brightened by sunflowers (By Geoffrey Ojok, for Farm Radio Weekly)

Dan Mawaki started his business in 2012 by buying sunflower seeds, paying 1000 Ugandan shillings (38 US cents) per kilo. He planned to sell the seeds and earn enough income to meet his domestic needs. But his efforts fell short.

Later, Mr. Mawaki learned that sunflower oil is more valuable than the seeds from which it is produced. So he began adding value to the sunflower seeds. He realized that it would be more cost-effective to grow his own sunflowers. So, in 2013, he started growing sunflowers. He mills the seeds and sells the resulting cooking oil and sunflower cake. He says, “It was one of the best decisions I have made in my life.”

Mr. Mawaki lives in Busiro village, Bulambuli district, about 280 kilometres east of the capital, Kampala.

Today, Mr. Mawaki’s products are popular in the region. He grows about one and a half hectares of sunflowers and harvests nearly 900 kilos of seeds every three months. Each harvest earns him 2,800,000 Ugandan shillings [$1,088 US].

Mr. Mawaki used his profits to buy a milling machine. He says: “Sunflower is a multi-purpose crop, but it’s mainly used to make vegetable oil. When one plants sunflower, there is little to worry about because, [if] the soils are good, there isn’t any need for fertilizers.”

Before preparing and planting his land, he carefully selects the seeds, removing the rotten ones. It is important to weed at the right time and harvest when the seeds are ready. Mr. Mawaki prefers to grow varieties which dry quickly and are easy to mill.

His milling machine can produce 25-30 litres of cooking oil a day. He sells 20 litres of oil for 85,000 shillings [$33 US]. He also makes pellets from the residue, which he sells to poultry farmers for 550 shillings [21 US cents] per kilo. Commonly called seed cake, the pellets are an important and nutritious livestock feed.

Mr. Mawaki has ready markets for these products. His cooking oil and seed cake sell out as soon as they are milled.

Dollie Nankya is a poultry farmer who lives close to Mr. Mawaki’s farm. She buys his seed cake for her chickens. She says: “It’s cheap for me to buy the cake from Mawaki because I don’t need to pay for any transport … [cake costs] 600 shillings per kilogram in Bulambuli town, and it’s eight kilometres from my home.”

Mr. Mawaki says there has been an almost unbelievable change in his life. He was impoverished a few years ago. But now he employs three workers, and can afford the fees for his two sons to attend Busitema University, where they study agriculture.

With some satisfaction, he says, “I am settled because [I] am able to meet my daily needs.”

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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-Zambia: Refugees find a home

Three refugees from Angola’s 33-year-long civil war were recently granted permanent resident status in Zambia.

Ten thousand Angolan refugees may now qualify for resident status and, ultimately, Zambian citizenship. African Union officials hope that Zambia’s government will offer the same deal to 4,000 Rwandans who fled the 1994 genocide, and to refugees who fled liberation wars and persecution in other southern African countries.

The UNHCR views Zambia as an exemplary country for welcoming those facing violence and giving them a place to call home. The country is seeking $21 million US in financial support for its refugee integration projects.

To read the full article, go to: http://allafrica.com/stories/201406181021.html

2-Uganda: Travelling testimonies

Makerere University’s Refugee Law Project has been travelling through Uganda to collect testimonies from “veterans, ex-combatants and other war-affected men, women and children.”

The objective of the Travelling Testimonies project is to tell the stories of war-affected communities in Uganda. The project displays photographs and mementos which tell the stories of Ugandans affected by conflicts other than the war against the Lord’s Resistance Army in northern Uganda.

Travelling Testimonies will be on display until July 26 at the Makerere University Art Gallery in Kampala, Uganda.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.ipsnews.net/2014/06/travelling-testimonies-ugandas-first-mobile-exhibition-to-document-conflicts-other-than-the-lra-war/

3-South Sudan: Poaching threatens country’s wildlife

Conservation officials say government and rebel forces are killing and eating wildlife.

Wildlife officials have abandoned their posts because of the drawn-out conflict, allowing militia forces and civilians to kill wildlife in game parks and wildlife reserves. Several game species are being killed to provide bushmeat for soldiers. Elephants are also being killed for meat and ivory.

Officials from South Sudan’s Ministry of Tourism say that if the country’s wildlife were sustainably managed, tourism could contribute up to 10 per cent of South Sudan’s GDP within 10 years.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.ipsnews.net/2014/06/south-sudans-wildlife-become-casualties-war-killed-feed-soldiers-rebels/

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Open for entries: UN contest for digital professionals

The World Summit Youth Award (WSYA) is a global contest that brings together young digital entrepreneurs and developers. It aims to put the UN Millennium Development Goals into action and make a difference.

Designers, producers, application developers, journalists and writers interested in digital media and development are encouraged to submit their work. The competition is open to anyone younger than 30 (born after January 1, 1984) who wants to present a project in one of WSYA’s six categories.

The categories are: extreme poverty, hunger and disease; access to education; women’s empowerment; culture; environmental protection and sustainability; and, quality and multimedia journalism.

The project can be in any language, but the application form must be completed in English.

Eighteen winners will become part of the global WSYA network and will be invited to the WSYA Winners’ Event from November 28 to December 1, 2014, in São Paulo, Brazil.

The winners will have the opportunity to present their project on an international stage, make important contacts, and build a strong network with representatives of the private sector, government, media and civil society.

For more details on the rules and regulations of WSYA, go to: http://youthaward.org/content/contest_rules

Applications must be received by July 15, 2014.

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Search for Common Ground handbook: Target audiences for peacebuilding radio

Creators of radio programs can either make a conflict worse − because they are not clear about their objectives − or they can help find a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

By target their programs towards a particular group − the target audience – broadcasters can help affected communities, regions or countries find and progress along a more peaceful path.

Search for Common Ground has devised a training manual entitled Target audiences for peacebuilding. The manual aims to help broadcasters clarify the target audience for a particular program and design programs to achieve the greatest influence.

The 19-page document is available as a PDF file, and can be downloaded from this address: http://www.sfcg.org/programmes/rfpa/pdf/201010TargetAudience_EN_color.pdf

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Farm Radio International blog: Audio postcards

One of FRI’s methods of communicating its work is through audio postcards.

The concept is simple: a postcard-like photo shows a scene of farmers or radio broadcasters, or even an FRI broadcasting partner at work. The picture is accompanied by a soundtrack which explains the work going on, the conversation, the moment.

Our latest postcards include Teaching new technologies can be tough at times, but always rewarding, in which FRI’s Nathaniel Ofori describes some of the work he does with radio stations in Ghana. You can listen to it here: http://www.farmradio.org/ourblog/2014/07/07/audio-postcard-teaching-new-technologies-may-be-tough-at-times-but-always-rewarding/

In Tanzanian cassava co-operative triples harvest by listening to the radio, FRI’s Executive Director Kevin Perkins describes how a radio series produced by one of FRI’s partner radio stations, Pride FM, helped co-operative producer groups improve their cassava production and marketing. You can find that postcard here: http://www.farmradio.org/ourblog/2014/06/02/audio-postcard-tanzanian-farmers-boost-cassava-harvest-through-local-broadcaster-programming/

Check out FRI’s blog for up-to-date information on what we are doing to raise the profile of small-scale African farmers on the continent and around the world! You can find all of FRI’s audio postcards and other communications at: http://www.farmradio.org/ourblog/

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Adventures of Neddy: A community animal health worker helps a village manage Newcastle disease

This week’s story from Niger focuses on chickens. Chickens are very easy to keep for several reasons. First, they can grazie freely on readily available foods. They also reproduce easily. But chickens are susceptible to a major disease which is the focus of our script of the week: Newcastle disease.

Though there is no cure for Newcastle disease, there is a preventive vaccine. Farmers fail to regularly vaccinate their chickens because of lack of knowledge or because the vaccine is expensive. Often, the drug is sold in large bottles which can treat several hundred chickens. This is very expensive for farmers who have only a few animals. And that is why community vaccination for chickens by community animal health workers or paravets is a great idea.

This script is a mini-drama which highlights the need to vaccinate chickens against Newcastle disease and the benefits of having a paravet in your community.

http://www.farmradio.org/radio-resource-packs/package-88/adventures-of-neddy-a-community-animal-health-worker-helps-a-village-manage-newcastle-disease/

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