Hello to all!
We are delighted that FRW's service is spreading throughout the African
continent, as evidenced by our long list of new subscribers this week. We
welcome Wilgis Agossa, from the NGO Monde Uni pour le Développement in
Bénin; Mireille Mumba N'gandwe, from the Association pour le devéloppement
par le civisme in Cameroon; Hamed Jean Francois Toure, a food engineering
technician, and Jean-Marie Gohi Tacka from La Voix du Kotrohou, both in Côte
d'Ivoire; Solomon Abadi, from Voice of Tigray Radio in Ethiopia; Mar Knox,
from the Rural Media Network in Ghana; Charles Omobude, from the
Environmental Protection and Food Programme, and Abayomi Oloruntoba, from
the University of Agriculture in Abeokuta, both in Nigeria; Isaac
Mubashankwaya, from the Institut Polytechnique de Byumba in Rwanda; Kory
Bane, from Lac Rose Agri in Senegal; Cathrine Mashayamombe, a horticulturist
from Zimbabwe and Ednah Karamagi, from the NGO Brodsi, in Uganda.
We are also pleased to welcome seven new subscribers from the radio and
print media in Mali. We thank our friends Modibo Coulibaly and Lamine Togola
for telling our new Malian subscribers about FRW. Remember, if you are
reading FRW online, subscribing is as easy as following this link:
http://farmradio.org/english/partners/fr_weekly_subscribe.asp, and entering
your contact information. Once you subscribe, you will automatically receive
FRW in your e-mailbox every week.
In this week's news stories, we follow two issues of great importance to
food security: farmland grabbing and cash cropping. Our first story comes
from Tanzania, where we learn that public outcry has once again proven
effective in halting attempted farmland grabs. Our second story turns to
cotton-growing communities in Malawi. We learn that cotton farmers fear
starvation because they have been unable to sell their crops. In the Notes
to Broadcaster and Script of the Week sections, we follow up on this topic
with story ideas and resources on the topics of crop choice and food
Don't miss the Radio Resource Bank entry for a comprehensive resource on
starting and maintaining a community radio station. And for those who are
working on entries for the Radio Scriptwriting Competition on Smallholder
Farmer Innovation, turn to the Farm Radio Action section for a reminder of
the deadline, the prizes you can win, and information on how to make your
*-The Farm Radio Weekly Team*
*In this week's Farm Radio Weekly:*
*African Farm News in Review*
1. Tanzania: Biofuel projects halted following outcry (The East
2. Malawi: Despite maize surplus, some farmers are hungry
-The Daniel Pearl Awards for cross-border investigative
*Radio Resource Bank*
-Farm Radio International's Community Radio Start-Up
*Farm Radio Action*
-Farm Radio International reminder about scriptwriting competition: Deadline
for submissions is November 1! <#1246f0ca6bd3271a_article5>
*Farm Radio Script of the Week*
-The importance of security crops <#1246f0ca6bd3271a_article6>
*African Farm News in Review*
*You are welcome to use the news stories below in any way that suits your
radio organization. You may wish to read one or more of the news stories
directly onto the air, adapt them to be more relevant to your audience, or
simply use them as ideas for news stories to research locally. However you
use the African Farm News in Review, we would like to know! Please post a
comment on FRW's online site or e-mail
*1. Tanzania: Biofuel projects halted following outcry (The East African)*
Tanzania's land looks different to international investors than it does to
Tanzanian farmers. Where farmers see farms, pasture and forests, investors
picture opportunities to grow biofuel crops.
Two environmental groups have prepared a report describing the country as
biofuel companies see it. According to the report, investors have identified
hundreds of thousands of hectares of land for growing biofuel crops. If
their projects proceed, more than 5,000 small-scale rice farmers could be
The report was released in late September. The response by local and
international environmental groups was immediate. They pressured the
Tanzanian government to put a stop to the land grabbing. Within weeks, the
government agreed to halt new biofuel projects.
Esther Mfugale is the coordinator of biofuel production for the Ministry of
Agriculture, Food Security, and Cooperatives. She says the government has
ordered regional authorities to halt biofuel projects. According to Ms.
Mfugale, the government has also put a stop to the selling of village land.
She says the government "was asleep" and did not realize that these
investors were planning to buy land in Tanzania.
Already, there are 40 companies growing biofuel crops in Tanzania. There are
jatropha, sugarcane, and palm plantations. In some cases, farmers are
contracted as outgrowers. They grow a biofuel crop which is then purchased
by the contracting company.
In other cases, companies purchase land to grow the crops. This is what
happened recently in the Usangu district of western Tanzania. More than
1,000 small-scale farmers were forced off their land. Where they used to
grow rice, there is now a commercial sugarcane plantation.
Abdallah Mkindi is an environmental officer for Envirocare Tanzania, one of
the groups which authored the report. He explains that the most fertile land
is being targeted by biofuel companies.
While the government has put a halt to biofuel investments, it may only be
temporary. Tanzania's cabinet is preparing a policy on these investments.
Once the policy is in place, the government may allow biofuel companies to
invest in local land. But they will have to follow the government's new
rules. Ms. Mfugale said these policies will be used to prevent investors
from acting against the interests of the country.
Click here to see the notes to broadcasters on land
*2. Malawi: Despite maize surplus, some farmers are hungry (IPS)*
Montfort Salijeni peels a wild tuber. He found the potato-like tuber in the
bush near his home in southern Malawi. The farmer has no choice but to
harvest wild vegetables. As a nation, Malawi is enjoying a maize surplus.
But the bush is the only source of food for Mr. Salijeni's family.
Mr. Salijeni and his wife, Ida Salijeni, grow cotton. In a normal year, the
Salijenis sell their cotton to purchase maize and other necessities. But
this year, most cotton farmers have not sold a single kilogram.
The problem lies in a disagreement between the government and cotton buyers.
This year, the Malawian government set the minimum price for cotton at 54
cents per kilo. The government said cotton farmers deserve a good return for
their labour. But buyers say the global demand for cotton is down. They only
want to pay 30 cents per kilo.
Major buyers have established offices in Malawi to purchase cotton. But
these buyers have withdrawn from Malawi's cotton-producing areas. This
includes Chingale, the community where the Salijenis live.
Davidson Mbayisa is another cotton farmer in Chingale. He belongs to a club
of small-scale cotton growers. He explains that the farming club has
benefitted from Malawi's fertilizer subsidy program. They produced a good
cotton harvest earlier this year. But their cotton is still in storage.
Mr. Mbayisa says that cotton farmers are stranded. They do not have the
means to transport cotton to buyers. They are also afraid. If the first
rains come next month, their cotton crop will rot, and all their efforts
will have been in vain. Mr. Mbayisa worries that some people in his region
will starve to death.
The rainy season is often a difficult time in Chingale. Cotton farmers
normally prepare by stocking up on maize. Ida Salijeni wishes she could do
this again this year. She wishes buyers would come and buy her cotton at any
price. But for now, Malawi's maize surplus is out of her family's reach.
Click here to see the notes to broadcasters on cotton
*Notes to Broadcasters*
*Each week, we use the Notes to Broadcasters section of FRW to share
additional information and resources that we come across while researching
the African Farm News in Review. We will also pass along ideas on how you
could further explore issues from the news at your radio organization. If
you have an idea or resource related to any of this week's news stories, we
invite you to share it by posting a comment on FRW's website at:
*Notes to broadcasters on land grabbing:*
Farm Radio Weekly has been following the issue of farmland grabbing in
Africa since November, 2008, when it was announced that a South Korean
company intended to lease half of Madagascar's arable land. Since then,
there have been countless media reports on the issue of farmland grabbing.
The reports have considered both the consequences in cases where investors
have already taken over farmland, and the threats posed by investors'
growing interest in capturing more farmland.
Over the same period, there has been a growing protest against farmland
grabbing. These protests include local people who will be affected (in many
cases, removed from their land), as well as a variety of NGOs interested in
farmers' rights, environmental considerations, and other issues. The
following FRW reports describe cases where protests have been effective in
halting land grab attempts:
-"Africa: Angola land deal announced; Madagascar land deal on
(FRW#52, January 2009)
-"Kenya: Local resistance to land grab captures government, investor
attention <http://weekly.farmradio.org/?p=1036>" (FRW#70, June 2009)
-"Republic of the Congo: Land deals on
(FRW#71, June 2009)
There has also been research on how land transactions could be carried out
in a way that is beneficial to everyone, including local people. The
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) recommends the
following to ensure that local people are protected in land deals:
transparency in negotiations; respect for existing land rights; equitable
sharing of benefits; environmental sustainability; and abidance with
national trade policies. The entire IFPRI report, entitled: "Land grabbing"
by foreign investors in developing countries: Risks and opportunities, is
available online, here: <http://www.ifpri.org/pubs/bp/bp013.asp>
The following questions may serve as a starting point for investigating
farmland investment in your area:
-Who are the investors (company, government, or other) who have leased or
bought land (or are interested in leasing or buying land)?
-Did the national government consult local small-scale farmers about the
negotiations? If yes, what was the process? If not, what was the outcome?
-What sort of agriculture (commercial, subsistence, etc.) is being practiced
on the land in question and what sort of crops are being grown? What type of
agriculture do the foreign investors wish to practice?
-Who will control the land? Who will profit?
-Will the local community benefit from the land investment? What guarantees
do they have that the investors will deliver any benefits promised?
-If rural people have been or will be displaced by the land grab, where will
they go? How will they meet their food needs?
-Are there alternatives to permitting the sale or lease of local land that
would benefit rural communities?
You may also wish to review the following FRW articles, published as part of
our series on land grabbing. Each of these stories highlights how local
people are affected, and how they have mobilized to resist land grab
attempts and/or ensure a better deal for their communities:
-"Land grabbing in Africa: An overview <http://weekly.farmradio.org/?p=1004>"
(#69, June 2009)
-"Sudan: Madi community fights land grab
(#69, June 2009)
-"Malawi: Villagers lose land to sugar
(#70, June 2009)
-"Uganda: Urban farmers fight eviction <http://weekly.farmradio.org/?p=1113>"
(FRW#72, June 2009)
-"Ghana: European biofuel company meets resistance after clearing
(FRW#73, July 2009)
-For regular updates on the issue of farmland grabbing, or to upload your
own reports on the issue, visit the following website, created by the NGO
*Notes to broadcasters on cotton farmers:*
Both maize and cotton farmers in Malawi enjoyed a good harvest this year.
For cotton farmers, an ample harvest usually means a good income, once their
crops have been sold. This year, however, Malawi's cotton farmers were left
with no way to market their crops, and therefore no income to purchase food.
In this state of food insecurity, farming families rely on wild vegetables
and hope for food aid.
If you broadcast to an area where many farmers grow non-food crops, you may
wish to prepare programs on food security. How can farmers who grow non-food
crops improve their security when crop failure, severe marketing problems,
or other difficulties prevent them from purchasing food?
Here are two program ideas:
-Find one or more farmers in your community who grow both food and non-food
crops. Prepare a report that allows these farmers to explain why they chose
this mix of crops. What past experiences led them to their choices? Can they
describe a particularly difficult growing or marketing season during which
they were glad they had diversified their crops?
-Host a call-in show that invites local farmers to call- or text-in and
discuss their crop choices. For these farmers, what are the benefits and
risks associated with growing non-food crops? How have farmers coped with
seasons when they were not able to sell their crops, or couldn't get a
Some farmers choose to plant "survival" or "security" crops. These are crops
which produce food even in poor weather and without inputs such as
fertilizers. The following scripts describe some survival crops and why
communities rely on them:
-"'Survival' crops provide food during times of
(Package 67, Script 2, June 2003)
-"The importance of security
(Package 73, Script 6, January 2005)
*This section is a place to share information about events and training
opportunities related to agriculture, rural development, radio broadcasting,
or other topics of interest. If you know of an event or training opportunity
that may interest other radio organizations, please post a comment on FRW's
websitehttp://weekly.farmradio.org/ or e-mail the details to
*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:
*Radio Resource Bank*
*When we hear about a resource that may help you in your radio work, we will
post it here in the Radio Resource Bank. This is a great place to share your
best tips and favourite online resources with the FRW community. Please post
a comment on the FRW website (http://weekly.farmradio.org/), or e-mail
we'll share it in the next Radio Resource Bank.*
*Farm Radio International's Community Radio Start-Up Guide*
Over the years, Farm Radio International has received many requests from
groups seeking information on how to start their own community radio
station. And while Farm Radio International's core programming supports
existing African radio organizations, we also wanted to assist these
aspiring broadcasters. So Farm Radio volunteer Karina Barker developed a
Community Radio Start-Up Information Guide, which is now available on the
Farm Radio website:
Even established radio organizations are sure to find useful information in
this manual – which discusses how to get started, legal issues, funding
options, things to think about when selecting equipment, ideas for managing
your community radio station, and broadcasting tips. It also includes links
to websites, publications and other resources that may be useful when
starting up, and operating, a community radio station.
*Farm Radio Action*
*This section is devoted to news about Farm Radio International and the many
partners in our network. We look forward to hearing news about your radio
organization so that we can share it with the FRW community! If you would
like to tell us about a new program, successful event, or any other news
about your organization, please post a comment on the FRW website, or e-mail
<MAILTO:email@example.com>firstname.lastname@example.org and we
will post your story in the next issue.*
*Farm Radio International reminder about scriptwriting competition: Deadline
for submissions is November 1!*
If you've been taking the online course, you know that the course has come
to an end. It is now time to submit your scripts! Remember that the last day
to submit your script is November 1, 2009.
If you have been participating in the online course, you can now submit your
script online. Here's how: Log into the Scriptwriting Competition Course on
Moodle <http://www.farmradiotraining.org/login/index.php>, go to the last
module (Module 6), and click on "Submit your script for the competition
here." Upload the file with your script, and you're done!
Remember that, as well as receiving valuable feedback on your scriptwriting
skills, you may win one of our valuable prizes. Each of the 15 winners will
receive an Olympus LS-10 audio recorder. One lucky winner will have the
opportunity to travel to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome
for a 3-5 day training visit in 2010. Finally, the World Association of
Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) is sponsoring an award for the best
entry by a community radio broadcaster. The winner will have the opportunity
to participate in the AMARC 10 conference, to be held in Argentina in 2010.
*Farm Radio Script of the Week *
*While Farm Radio International's scripts are always available online at
http://www.farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/, we will use this section to
highlight some of our new scripts, as well as past favourites that are still
relevant today. If you would like to nominate a script for next week's Farm
Radio Script of the Week, please post a comment on the FRW website at:
http://weekly.farmradio.org/, or e-mail
*The importance of security crops*
Our news story from Malawi illustrates how difficult life can be for cash
crop farmers who are unable to sell their harvest. Other hardships, such as
illness, death in the family, or conflict, can also cause great difficulty
for farmers who have no other source of food.
This week's script tells the fictional story of two sisters, Suad and Salma.
Both sisters are hardworking farmers, but choose to plant different crops.
While Salma planted only coffee, Suad was more cautious. We learn the steps
Suad took to diversify her crops, and how "security crops" provided for her
family when tragedy struck.
You may also find this script online at:
*Notes to Broadcaster*
HIV/AIDS is much more than a health problem. The disease weakens or kills
adults in the prime of their working life and therefore has a severe
negative impact on farming and food security in rural areas. Farmers need
information about practical approaches to farming that will make the best
use of the resources they have. Through broadcasts you can encourage farmers
to plant crops and use cultivation techniques that will ensure food security
in times of need.
The following story is about two sisters with different farming systems and
two very different results. It highlights the importance for some farmers of
growing 'survival' or 'security' crops. Survival crops are crops that
provide food in times of need. A survival crop will generally have one or
more of the following characteristics:
* It provides food even when it isn't tended regularly
* It can be stored for a long time
* It has different parts that can be harvested and/or different uses
* It survives when other crops fail
* It requires relatively less labour
In this story one of the characters grows the cash crop coffee. Please
substitute coffee with more common local cash crops (cotton, tea, etc.) if
We refer to HIV/AIDS as "the chronic illness". Please use the term that is
most familiar and acceptable to your audience.
*BRING UP MUSIC AND HOLD UNDER NARRATOR.*
*Narrator*: It is surprising how different two sisters can be. Two people
who have grown up in the same country, the same village, and the same
family. Today's program shows how the choices that a farmer makes can
sometimes mean the difference between survival and despair.
*FADE OUT MUSIC.*
*Narrator*: The two sisters in this story are both farmers. But you'll see
that their way of farming – and the kind of crops they grow – make them
Suad was the cautious sister. She always planted some of her land with
'security' crops. For Suad, growing security crops was like having money in
the bank. Those were the crops that would always give her family something
to eat, even in times of hardship. For example, several years ago, she
replaced much of her coffee plantation with cassava, yams and sweet
*Narrator (cont)*: Although it was a lot of effort at first to make the
planting ridges, once the yams and sweet potatoes were growing, they didn't
require much work. She also planted fruit trees and wild vegetables in her
garden. She stopped buying relish from the store. Instead, she used the
leaves from wild vegetables to make her own relish to serve with cassava.
Suad's sister, Salma, also had a productive farm. But she made different
choices. She also grew coffee, but little else grew in her fields. She was
certain that she could make the most money with a crop of coffee. She did
not see the value in growing root crops or fruit trees.
*MUSICAL BREAK (5 seconds).*
*Narrator*: Both sisters worked hard and they were successful farmers. But
they lived in troubled times. Many people in their country, and in their
village, were dying from the chronic illness. And eventually the disease hit
one of their own. Their brother died after many years of sickness. Suad and
Salma went into mourning.
During the mourning period times were difficult. Both sisters spent money on
funeral expenses, and purchased food for relatives. But of the two sisters,
it was Salma, the sister who had only a crop of coffee, who faced more
hardship. She had no other crops to fall back on. Because of funeral
expenses, no money was left over to buy the fertilizer needed for her
coffee. So her crop suffered. Even worse, there was no money to buy food for
her family. There was only enough food for one meal a day.
But the life of Suad, the first sister, did not change much. She had plenty
of food stored in the ground – yams and cassava – and because of that her
family continued to eat two or three meals a day. She used the wild
vegetables to make relish to serve with the cassava. She harvested root
crops, fruits and leafy greens, little by little, as she needed them.
*PLAY MUSIC AND HOLD UNDER NARRATOR.*
*Narrator*: Suad planted crops that would always provide food for her
family, even in a crisis. Some of her crops stayed stored in the ground
until she needed them. Suad was able to feed her family healthy meals even
during a time of crisis.
*Narrator (cont)*: Suad planted crops that:
* Provide food, even when she doesn't have time to tend them
* Can be stored in the ground for a long time
* Have many uses
* Survive when other crops fail, and
* Demand relatively little labour.
- END -
* Contributed by Jennifer Pittet, Thornbury, Canada.
* Reviewed by Gladys Mutangadura, Economic Affairs Officer, UNECA-Southern
Africa Office, Zambia.
* Mutangadura, Gladys. A review of household and community responses to the
HIV/AIDS epidemic in the rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa. UNAIDS, June
* Sharland, R.W. "Introducing new crops in a conflict situation: Gender
roles and innovation." Leisa Magazine. Vol 17 no 1, April 2001.
* Gari, J. "Agrobiodiversity, food security and HIV/AIDS mitigation in
Sub-Saharan Africa." SDdimensions, FAO, Rome, 2002.
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