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Haven Ley explains how the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is focussing on support for women farmers, both in upstream research and in downstream interventions. Bolanle Adeyemo, who runs an NGO that empowers women in Nigeria, describes her excitement at being part of a plan to multiply Vitamin A rich cassava varieties, which she believes will have a major impact on child health. We also hear from the grand opening of Aqua Shops in western Kenya and from dryland Laikipia, where Simon Wachira and members of the Tigithi Aloe Group are branching out into cultivation of medicinal trees.
Audio link: http://wrenmedia.jellycast.com/files/audio/new-ag12-01.MP3
Article: Editorial, Haven Ley, Green light for yellow cassava, Aqua shops, a new initiative
Fish farming is expanding in Kenya, thanks to a government support programme. But for this growth to be maintained and not to stall, fish farmers need reliable access to inputs, such as feed, pond liners and protection for their fish against predators. Supported by the UK Research into Use programme, the NGO FARM-Africa has created a new type of inputs shop called an Aqua Shop. Six have recently been opened in western Kenya. From the launch of one of the shops, Pius Sawa reports on the impact that the Aqua Shops may soon be having for Kenya's fish farmers.
Audio link: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=423
Article: Aqua shops, a new initiative
In Nigeria, a team of national and international crop breeders, coordinated by the HarvestPlus programme, have spent the last eight years developing varieties of cassava with high levels of Vitamin A, using conventional crop breeding techniques (not genetic modification). These yellow fleshed cassava tubers, if widely grown and eaten, could contribute significantly to a reduction in Vitamin A deficiency, a cause of poor health in as much as a third of Nigeria’s rural children. Three high yielding, Vitamin A-rich varieties are now ready for release and a multiplication programme is underway to make them widely available. Aveseh Asough visits crop breeders at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Ibadan, and speaks to those involved in the multiplication process.
Audio link: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=470
Article: Green light for yellow cassava
As a tribute to Wangari Maathai, Kenya’s tireless campaigner for environmental protection who died in September this year, Francesca de Gasparis, Europe Director of the Green Belt Movement, reflects on Maathai’s message and the ongoing work to protect the forests of Kenya. We hear also from two scientists at the forefront of the Rinderpest eradication campaign, on how that was achieved, and from Samuel Koputa who has been training farmers to protect their livestock again ticks using extract from the Tephrosia plant.
Audio link: http://wrenmedia.jellycast.com/files/audio/new-ag11-06.mp3
Article: Editorial, Francesca de Gasparis, Beyond eradication - maintaining a rinderpest-free world, Tephrosia leaf offers low-cost tick protection
Many diseases common to cows, sheep and goats are spread by ticks, and protecting livestock from tick bites is an important element in animal health. Dipping or spraying animals with an acaricide is the standard method of protection. For some farmers, however, accessing or affording the correct chemical can be difficult. An alternative being promoted by the Kenya Institute of Organic Farming (KIOF) is to spray animals with a liquid extracted from a locally available plant. Tephrosia vogelli grows wild across much of sub-Saharan Africa. Boiling the leaves in water produces a natural pesticide which can be diluted and used as an effective protection against ticks. KIOF centre manager, Samuel Koputa, explains more to Geoffrey Onditi.
Audio link: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=459
Article: Tephrosia leaf offers low-cost tick protection
My perspective writer, Simon Levine, explains how famine can be averted by responding to the right signals, so that interventions are done in time to prevent a crisis. Agnes Luo Laima, who represents small-scale farmers and marketeers in Zambia, describes the biggest challenge her association members face. We also hear from ICRAF researcher Esther Karanja about how fodder shrubs are changing lives in highland Kenya. And we join Thembi Mutch, learning about spices in Zanzibar with farmer Foum Ali Garu.
Audio link: http://wrenmedia.jellycast.com/files/audio/new-ag11-5.mp3
Article: Simon Levine, Editorial, Fodder shrubs increase milk production, Spices: a recovering trade in Zanzibar
We hear from Zanzibar's east coast and from the coastal wetlands of The Gambia about two projects that are giving low status women a stronger voice in dealing with buyers and politicians. And a professor from the University of Ontario explains why she thinks the current spate of land deals cannot offer a win-win benefit of poverty reduction.
Audio link: http://wrenmedia.jellycast.com/files/audio/new-ag11-4.mp3
Article: Editorial, The rise, fall and rise of seaweed, Land grab or development opportunity?
In Kenya, three organisations - the Syngenta Foundation, the UAP insurance company and the mobile phone company SafariCom - have joined forces to offer a new type of insurance to small-scale farmers. Farmers buying certified seed, or other farm inputs such as fertiliser or pesticides, can for a 5% increase in the price, insure the seeds and inputs against drought or flooding. If their crops fail because of bad weather, they are refunded the value of the inputs they have bought. Rose Goslinga of the Syngenta Foundation explains how the system - called Kilimo Salama - works, and how farmers have responded.
Audio link: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=361
Article: Innovative insurance by mobile
Ug99, a new strain of wheat stem rust first identified in Uganda, has since spread across much of Africa, and could soon threaten wheat crops in India and Pakistan. Working in partnership, the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) are breeding new varieties of wheat with resistance to the disease. As KARI wheat breeder Peter Njau explains, these could be available in large quantities by April 2012. Meanwhile, farmers need to protect their wheat crop with fungicide spray, if they can afford to do so.
Audio link: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=422
Article: Growing threat of wheat rust epidemics worldwide
In 2007, Pamela Anyoti started a new company, to grow and export high value spice crops from Uganda. She began by training and buying from 15 smallscale farmers, all widows. She now buys from over 1,000 farmers, and in 2010 exported 24 tonnes of bird's eye chillies to Europe. She was also recognised for her skill as an entrepreneur at the 2010 EMRC Agribusiness Forum in Kampala. She explains more about her business model, and why it has proved so successful, to Pius Sawa.
Audio link: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=414
Article: Uganda's red hot chilli trader
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