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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 #96

Hello to all!

We are delighted to welcome several new subscribers today, many of whom work with new Farm Radio International broadcasting partners. Our new subscribers are: Richard Nyabenda, a journalist at Rema FM in Burundi; Georges Ebelle, from AGROCOM in Cameroon; Germaine Rukeba, from the women farmers’ NGO AMALCOPA in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Justin Diasilua Kionga, Albert Mabundu, and Fortumat Mayangi from Radio Ntomosono/SADC in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Hans Kofi Addeh and Fiifi Ofosu-Okyere, from Dormaa Community Radio in Ghana; Catherine Mgandi, from CGIAR in Kenya; Adama Coulibaly, from Radio Fatou in Mali; and Sonigitu Ekpe, from the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources in Nigeria.

This week’s news stories focus on some encouraging developments for farmers and pastoralists in West Africa. Our first story looks at the establishment of livestock routes in Nigeria and Gambia – a move that secures pasture land for herders and reduces farmer-pastoralist conflict. We then turn to Ghana, where farmers boosted their harvests of several key crops last year. Our story explains some of the reasons for this success.

We are also pleased to announce the winners of Farm Radio International’s script competition on smallholder farmer innovation in this week’s Farm Radio Action section. Scroll down to see where the winners are from, and which topics captured the attention of an international panel of judges. You can look forward to reading all of the winning scripts in the next script package, which will be distributed to partners and posted online in the coming months.

Finally, please stay tuned for another opportunity to shape the services of Farm Radio International. We are in the first stages of developing an online social networking site where broadcasters from across Africa can meet to discuss their craft, share their work, exchange resources, and much more. Watch your e-mail for notice of an online survey to help us shape this new networking site!

Happy reading!

-The Farm Radio Weekly Team

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In this week’s Farm Radio Weekly:

African Farm News in Review

1. West Africa: Livestock routes reduce pastoralist-farmer conflict (IRIN, Daily Trust, Daily Observer)

2. Ghana: Farmers take advantage of government support to produce bumper harvest (Various Sources)

Upcoming Events

-January 31, 2010: Deadline to apply for The Daniel Pearl Awards for cross-border investigative journalism

Radio Resource Bank

-Guide to Defending African Peasants’ Rights

Farm Radio Action

-Winners announced in scriptwriting competition on smallholder farmer innovation

Farm Radio Script of the Week

-Conflict over natural resources: A short story

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1. West Africa: Livestock routes reduce pastoralist-farmer conflict (IRIN, Daily Trust, Daily Observer)

Hame Saidu is a pastoralist in Nigeria’s Plateau State. He speaks passionately about his livelihood. He says: “Our herd is our life, because to every nomad life is worthless without his cattle.”

Mr. Saidu also explains how this passion can lead to violence. With each passing year, desertification and rising seas engulf more and more land. The amount of fertile land is shrinking. Pasture disappears as farmers seek land to grow crops. This is when conflict occurs.

“What do you expect from us when our source of existence is threatened?” Mr. Saidu asks. He calls the encroachment of farmers onto traditional grazing fields “a call to war.”

Violence between farmers and pastoralists has been on the rise in Nigeria. In mid-December, 32 people were killed during a clash in Nasarawa State. Scores of homes were burned to the ground. Disputed farmlands went up in flames.

But in another part of Nigeria, a hopeful trend is emerging. Yobe State has found a way to reduce conflict between pastoralists and farmers. By establishing livestock grazing routes, the state has controlled conflict throughout the cropping season.

Mustapha Gaidam is manager of the Yobe State Livestock Development Project. He says fighting between farmers and herders used to be incessant. This is the first year that designated livestock routes were used. Herders had land to graze their livestock and did not travel beyond it. There was peace between pastoralists and farmers.

Mr. Gaidam sees this as a step towards maintaining pastoralism. In turn, he believes that local cattle, sheep, and goat species will be preserved. Meat and milk will continue to enter the market, boosting the local economy.

Gambia recently inaugurated its livestock routes with similar goals: to reduce conflict, keep pastoralists employed, and bolster food security. Designated grazing areas were established in three states: Nianija, Kang West, and Niamina East.

Gambia’s livestock routes were created as part of a regional initiative called the Regional Project for Sustainable Management of Endemic Livestock in West Africa, or PROGEBE. PROGEBE aims to enhance local productivity in the face of pressures such as drought, deforestation, and farming. PROGEBE also works in Guinea, Mali, and Senegal.

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2. Ghana: Farmers take advantage of government support to produce bumper harvest (Various Sources)

Farmers in Ghana had a lot to be proud of as 2009 came to a close. All through the year, their fields were fertile and their harvests plentiful. The farmers recorded a bumper harvest of rice, sorghum, and millet. Rice production increased the most, with farmers producing 29 per cent more than the year before.

Support from the government helped farmers succeed. One major initiative encouraged more youth to get involved in farming. The Youth in Agriculture Programme provided inputs to 8,000 young farmers. Another 40,000 youth were employed on large block farms. These young farmers work together to grow maize for the national reserve.

Other initiatives try to boost crop yields. For example, borehole wells were drilled in some regions to promote dry season farming. In other areas, efforts are underway to rehabilitate run-down irrigation facilities.

While the greatest gains were made in grain production, other staples were also abundant. There was a small increase in the production of groundnuts and cowpeas. As usual, farmers also produced millions of tonnes of cassava, yams, and plantain.

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Notes to broadcasters on farmer-pastoralist conflict:

All too often, we hear reports of tension between herdsmen and farmers that erupts into violence. The source of conflict is generally land or water – two natural resources essential to the livelihoods of both groups. Those who study trends in conflict raise concerns that the growing scarcity of these resources, as a result of population growth and climate change, could lead to increasing conflict.Watermelons a sign of peace between farmers and herders” (Issue #22).

It is encouraging to note that, in the face of these pressures, there are also many examples of farmers and pastoralists finding paths to peace. In May 2008, FRW featured a story from Sudan about herders and farmers benefiting from a cooperative relationship: “

The following Farm Radio scripts describe fictionalized – though realistic – community conflicts. They suggest reasons why conflict over land and water resources can become so contentious, and some ways that such conflicts can be resolved:
-“Conflict over natural resources: A short story” (Package 67, Script 7, June 2003)
-“Dispute over a sacred stream: Villagers describe the conflict” (Package 67, Script 6, June 2003)

Whether the communities in your broadcast area are experiencing a violent conflict, or are simply subject to tensions that can occur wherever resources are shared, you might consider the role your radio organization can play in reducing conflict. The following resources, taken from previous installments of FRW’s Radio Resource Bank, may help you to get started:
Using radio to help communities talk by the Straight Talk Foundation
A checklist for conflict-sensitive journalism by the Institute for Media, Policy and Civil Society and International Media Support

For more information on pastoralism, visit the following websites:
-World Initiative for Sustainable Pastoralism: http://www.iucn.org/wisp/
-Pastoralist Communication Initiative: http://www.pastoralists.org/

Finally, here are some questions to begin a discussion or debate on the importance of livestock rearing and pastoralism in your area:
-What percentage of the local population makes its living through pastoralism?
-What types of investments does your national government make in livestock rearing?
-Are there pastoralist networks in your region? What sort of services do they offer to herders?
-What kind of access do pastoralists have to livestock markets? Can they obtain information on market prices to empower them in sales negotiations?
-What sort of income-generating activities do pastoralist women engage in?
-How do pastoralists in your region ensure adequate access to water and pasture during dry periods?
-What other steps do pastoralists take to ensure their livelihoods (such as diversifying the age and species of their livestock)?
-How are conflicts between herders and farmers resolved? What are the best mediation strategies to assure food security for both groups?

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Notes to broadcasters on Ghana’s bumper harvest:

Radio can be a great forum to celebrate farmers’ work. Although we often report stories of food shortages and difficulties faced by farmers, it is also important to report on farmer successes and to recognize efforts that help farmers achieve the goal of feeding their families and communities.

Here are some questions to explore through a phone-in/text-in show or a news story:
-Which crops are produced in the greatest quantity in your area? Which crops do farmers in your area specialize in? Which crops are farmers known for, and which crops are farmers proud of? For how long have farmers in your area been producing these crops? What techniques have farmers in your area developed to help these crops flourish in the local soil and climate conditions?

-Are these crops consumed by the families who produce them, sold locally, or shipped abroad? What activities are farming families undertaking to store or sell their crops? Are there processing or storage techniques which are unique to farming families in your area?

You may also wish to review Farm Radio International’s script bank on Food Processing and Storage, to see if one or more scripts would be helpful to your audience. You will find information on processing and storing a range of crops, from fruits and vegetables, to grains, to fish: http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/food.asp.

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January 31, 2010: Deadline to apply for The Daniel Pearl Awards for cross-border investigative journalism

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) invites entries for the Daniel Pearl Awards, named for the Wall Street Journal reporter killed in 2002 in Pakistan. The awards recognize excellence in cross-border investigations on issues of world importance.

The competition is open to professional journalists of any nationality, working individually or in teams, in any medium. To be eligible, a piece of journalism must include on-the-ground reporting done in at least two countries, and must have been first published or broadcast between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2009.

Two first prizes of 5,000 American dollars (approximately 3,350 Euros) and five finalist awards of 1,000 American dollars (approximately 670 Euros) will be presented. Winners will be announced at the Global Investigative Journalism Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, in April 2010.

For more information, visit: http://www.publicintegrity.org/investigations/icij/awards/.

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Guide to Defending African Peasants’ Rights

What are the current threats to African peasants? What tools can be used to defend the human rights of African peasants? And what political developments are being advanced in support of African peasants’ rights? These are the questions that FIAN International – The FoodFirst Information and Action Network – aims to answer in its guide, Defending African Peasants’ Rights.

The guide is available in English, French, Portuguese, and German. It contains a comprehensive overview of tools that are being used to advance the rights of African peasants, in an easy-to-read format. The guide can be downloaded, here: http://www.fian.org/resources/documents/others/defending-african-peasants-rights/pdf.

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Winners announced in scriptwriting competition on smallholder farmer innovation

Congratulations to John Cheburet, a journalist from The Organic Farmer, a magazine and a radio show aired on the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, who won first prize in an Africa-wide scriptwriting competition on smallholder farmer innovation. Fourteen other radio broadcasters and producers also won prizes for their entries.

In July 2009, radio professionals from across sub-Saharan Africa were invited to submit a radio script about an innovative smallholder farmer in their area. To help participants develop their scripts, they were encouraged to participate in a free two-month online training course on scriptwriting. Eighty-two entries were received from 20 countries across sub-Saharan Africa.

The first-prize winner impressed an international panel of judges with his script about an innovative Kenyan farmer who uses sawdust to lengthen the storage period of Irish potatoes. His prize is a study visit at the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) headquarters in Rome, Italy. This award is sponsored by FAO.

Lydia Ajono from the Ghana Community Radio Network won the award for the best entry by a community radio broadcaster for her script about a woman farmer who grows henna plants and sells them for processing into dyes and cosmetics. The World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) will sponsor her trip to the AMARC 10 conference, to be held in Argentina in November 2010. Rosemary Nyaole-Kowuor from Shine FM in Kenya received the Marie Coulibaly Award for the top entry by a woman for her script on sack farming. Sack farming involves putting soil and composted materials into a plastic bag and growing vegetables in the “sack.” This is a very useful innovation for those without land. She will receive a certificate recognizing her achievement.

All 15 winners will receive high quality digital audio recorders. Winners will also work with Farm Radio International’s managing editor, using feedback received from contest judges, to improve and finalize their scripts. The 15 winning scripts will then be published in French and English and distributed by Farm Radio International to approximately 500 radio organizations across sub-Saharan Africa. They will then be transformed into a wide variety of programs and shared with a rural audience of millions of farmers.

The winners and script titles in alphabetical order by country are:

• Felix Houinsou, Benin – Using weaver ants to protect fruit trees from pests
• Issakou Yagui Assouma, Benin – Crush the maize stalk to preserve the grains
• Adama Zongo, Burkina Faso – The pump mill
• Lydia Ajono, Ghana – The miracle local plant “zabila/lelle” or henna plant: The turning point for food security for a smallholder woman farmer in northern Ghana
• Gabriel Adukpo, Ghana – A farmer suffocates stem borers to death and saves his cocoa farm
• Rosemond Ohene, Ghana – A farmer protects his young oil palm seedlings from rodents with jatropha
• John Cheburet, Kenya – Sawdust prolongs the storage life of potatoes
• Stanley Nyakwana Ongwae, Kenya – Women re-invent hanging gardens technology to solve land crisis
• Rosemary Nyaole-Kowuor, Kenya – Sack farming: Unlimited vegetable harvest
• Fredrick Mariwa, Kenya – A local farmer in Kenya uses water hyacinth to produce chicken feed
• Andrew Mahiyu, Malawi – Innovative farmer uses animal dung to protect his crops by fending off hungry goats
• Gladson Makowa, Malawi – What fattens pigs is still a mystery
• Lamine Togola, Mali – Composting, the best practice for improving soil fertility: The case of Dien
• Assétou Sidibe, Mali – Scarecrows and cassette tapes protect rice fields from predatory birds
• Lazarus Laiser, Tanzania – Transforming bicycles into a vehicle of innovation

Farm Radio International carried out the scriptwriting competition in collaboration with the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Government of Canada through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Donner Foundation, the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC), Inter Press Service (IPS) Africa, and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA).

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Conflict over natural resources: A short story

Our news story from West Africa looks at conflict between farmers and pastoralists. We hear some of the reasons why this type of conflict is intensifying in some areas, and a promising way to bring peace. Disputes among locals can also arise when there is competition for other natural resources, such as forests or water.

This week’s script uses fictional characters to examine some of the different responses people have to conflict over natural resources. The Notes to Broadcasters for this script suggests how a panel discussion can help further this discussion on responses to conflict.

This script can be found online at: http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/67-7script_en.asp

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