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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 # 98

Hello to all!

A special welcome to the newest members of our growing subscriber list: Modisaotsile Moilwa, from the Farmers of Glen Valley Association in Botswana; Cécile Magwa Sob, from the NGO GIC Provide, in Cameroon; Raymond Buami, from Vision for Empowerment and Relief Services for the Needy in Ghana; Emmanuel Bright-Davies, from Farm Radio Networks in Liberia; and Hama Hima, from Centre d’Études Économiques et Sociales de l’Afrique de l’Ouest in Niger.

This week’s news stories will likely interest many of your radio listeners because they deal with two major cash crops: bananas and coffee. Our first story comes from Côte d’Ivoire, and it looks at how farmers and traders are strategizing to deal with an expected drop in the European market. Our second story is from Kenya, where researchers have discovered an indigenous insect that has an appetite for the world’s most destructive coffee pest.

Other new resources for you include a call for nominations for rural women and women’s groups, as well as a link to a new e-learning tool offered by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, titled “Planning for community based adaptation to climate change.” In the Farm Radio Action section, we offer an opportunity to help choose the content for our 100th edition of FRW.

Happy reading!

-The Farm Radio Weekly Team

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In this week’s Farm Radio Weekly:

African Farm News in Review

1. Côte d’Ivoire: Banana farmers and traders seek regional markets (IPS)

2. Kenya: Tiny insect may be the answer to coffee farmers’ pest problems (Scientific Blogging, Daily Nation)

Upcoming Events

-March 31, 2010 – Deadline for nominations: Prize for women’s creativity in rural life

Radio Resource Bank

-E-learning tool: ‘Planning for community based adaptation to climate change’

Farm Radio Action

-Tell us about your favourite FRW news story

Farm Radio Script of the Week

-Where to sell: Making the best choice

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1. Côte d’Ivoire: Banana farmers and traders seek regional markets (IPS)

At the Gouro Adjamé market in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, women unload bananas from a truck. Isabelle Lou Kouhelou is one of them. She’s a trader who specializes in bananas. These days, she’s looking to expand her market.

A large percentage of Ivorian bananas are exported. Many to the European Union. But new trade regulations mean that Ivorian bananas will face greater competition. Tariffs have been lowered on bananas exported from Latin America to Europe. Ivorian banana producers expect a 14 per cent drop in European exports.

Some farmers and traders see a regional solution. They want to market their bananas to other West African countries to make up for losses in the European market.

Ms. Lou Kouhelou believes Cote d’Ivoire is well positioned to sell bananas to Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, and Senegal. She says she could buy a bunch of bananas locally for 300 CFA and re-sell it regionally for 2,000 CFA.

Doulaye Savadogo is a banana farmer in southern Cote d’Ivoire. He doesn’t want to wait for the European market to collapse. He plans to be proactive in seeking a regional market.

Mr. Savadogo is originally from Burkina Faso. He says that Burkinabes have a growing taste for bananas. It’s becoming a staple food product, so the market potential is strong.

To turn the idea of regional marketing into a reality, Ivorian banana farmers and traders may need help. Ms. Lou Kouhelou is concerned that road and railways problems in the region could hamper efforts for regional marketing. She says the government should support efforts to market Ivorian bananas to the region.

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2. Kenya: Tiny insect may be the answer to coffee farmers’ pest problems (Scientific Blogging, Daily Nation)

Scientists may have found the solution to a tiny pest that can devastate coffee plantations. The answer is – an even smaller insect that eats the pest.

The coffee berry beetle is the most serious pest facing coffee farmers. It’s also known as the coffee berry borer. The beetle drills holes into coffee berries and deposits eggs. When the eggs turn into larvae, they eat the fruit from the inside out.

The pest causes the most trouble in Kenya. Farmers around Mount Kenya and Mount Kilimanjaro are hardest hit.

Dr. Juliana Jaramillo is with the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology in Nairobi. She was dissecting coffee berries one day when she discovered something interesting. The coffee beetle isn’t the only creature that dives into the coffee berry. An insect called Karnyothrips flavipes will go in after the beetle to eat its eggs. The thrips eat beetle larvae, too.

Thrips are found naturally around the Kisii District of southwestern Kenya. It’s the first predator of the coffee beetle ever found in Africa. Dr. Jaramillo and her colleagues believe that thrips could be an important tool for managing the coffee beetle.

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Notes to broadcasters on banana marketing:

There are many factors that shape the market for a product and how much a farmer can expect to earn. These factors are constantly changing, meaning farmers need to be prepared to change their marketing approach, when necessary, to maintain their incomes.

You may wish to host a call-in/text-in show that allows farmers to discuss the local market situation – the challenges they face and methods they have used to obtain better prices. Here are some questions to ask:

-How do farmers in your area typically sell their produce? Do they feel that this system allows them to earn a fair price?
-What methods do farmers use to obtain information about current market prices?
-Do farmers in your area store their crops until the market price is favourable? How do they prevent damage to their stored products?
-Do farmers organize themselves into selling cooperatives to strengthen their bargaining power?

If there are farmers’ groups in your area, you may wish to prepare a news story or arrange an on-air interview which profiles the group and their marketing efforts:

-Who are the members of this group? Are they grouped by area, the type of crop they produce, etc?
-When did they come together? What were individual farmers’ experiences with selling their crop prior to forming the group?
-Ask the members to describe in detail the process they use to identify markets for their crops, gather them together, and sell them. Did they try other methods before determining that one method worked best?
-How much extra income do farmers earn as a result of group marketing? What are the other benefits of working as a group (saving time, learning from each other, etc)?

Finally, you may wish to revisit Farm Radio International’s script series on marketing agricultural products, “To Market, To Market,” which was published as part of Package 66 in March 2003:
-“Episode 1: Trusting the trader: the importance of reliable information
-“Episode 2: A glut in the market – how supply and demand affect prices
-“Episode 3: Where to sell: making the best choice
-“Episode 4: Marketing: calculating your costs
-“Episode 5: Farmers’ helpers: radio and extension help farmers plan

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Notes to broadcasters on coffee pest management:

The discovery of the role of Karnyothrips flavipes in managing the coffee berry beetle is potentially exciting for coffee farmers in Kenya and beyond. This development was discovered by scientists. However, innovative methods of managing pests are discovered by farmers all the time.

Perhaps you’d like to host a phone-in/text-in show inviting farmers to share their innovative methods for managing pests. Questions to ask farmers include:

-What pest did they target and how much damage was it causing?
-Have they tried other techniques in the past, and if so, how is the new technique better (cheaper, more effective, etc)?
-How did they come up with the pest management idea or hear about the new technique?
-What tests did they conduct to determine that the technique would work in their field, for their crop?
-What is the cost of using the pest management technique?
-To what degree has the technique reduced pest damage?
-Describe in detail how to make/use the technique, including where to get the materials.

For links to Farm Radio International’s scripts on pest management, go to:
http://www.farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/pest.asp.

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March 31, 2010 – Deadline for nominations: Prize for women’s creativity in rural life

The Women’s World Summit Foundation (WWSF) is seeking nominees for a prize that recognizes women’s contributions to sustainable development, household food security, and peace. The prize aims to draw international attention to the winners’ work, thus generating recognition and support for their projects and activities.

Nominees should be women, or groups of women, currently active in rural life whose efforts have not yet been acknowledged by other awards. They may not nominate themselves. Entries should emphasize any of the following elements:

-exceptional courage and perseverance in improving rural life;
-creativity in the approach;
-preservation of and respect for the environment;
-continuing impact on the community.

At least 20 prizes of 1,000 American dollars (approximately 730 Euros) will be awarded, and a donation of 3,000 American dollars (approximately 2,200 Euros) will be awarded for established organisations in Africa. For more information, visit: http://www.woman.ch/june09/women/1-introduction.php.

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E-learning tool: ‘Planning for community based adaptation to climate change’

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has launched a web-based learning tool aimed at front line field practitioners and extension workers. It may help you develop radio programs about what your listening communities are doing – or could be doing – to adapt to climate change.

The learning tool covers the following topics:
1. “Climate Change” describes the scientific basis.
2. “Climate Change and Food Security” discusses climate change impacts on agriculture and food security, and introduces the concept of adaptation to climate change.
3. “Preparing for Community Based Adaptation” introduces steps, methods, and tools needed to prepare and launch processes for community based adaptation.
4. “Implementing Community Based Adaptation” provides guidance on how to facilitate implementation of local community based adaptation processes.

The learning tool is available free of charge and can be found online, here: http://www.webgeo.de/fao-webgeo-2-intro/.

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Tell us about your favourite FRW news story

Two weeks from today, FRW will publish the 100th edition of our newsletter. To celebrate this landmark, we want to re-publish some of your favourite FRW news stories. Subscribers who completed our survey late last year have already identified some of their favourite stories. Here’s another chance to share your opinion as we prepare for the 100th edition.

Please e-mail FRW Editor Heather Miller at hmiller@farmradio.org to tell her about your favourite story. If you wish, take a moment to describe what appealed to you about the story, and how you used it at your radio organization.

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Where to sell: Making the best choice

In order to obtain the best price for their produce, farmers have to make many decisions. Where is the best place to sell their produce? Close to home or as far away as Europe? How should they sell their produce? Directly to a consumer or company, or through a trader?

Our news story from Côte d’Ivoire visits farmers who are trying to find a strong export market for their bananas. In this script, a fictional farming family considers their options for selling grain locally.

You can also find this script online at: http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/66-8script_en.asp.

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