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New Agriculturist podcast 2011-3

 (credit: © WaterAid/Layton Thompson)

Princess Haya of Jordan and Pamela Anyoti Peronaci, whose voices weigh heavily in this edition of New Agriculturist, both have a strong message and know how to communicate it. In this podcast, Pamela explains how small-scale farmers can make the first step into commercial production through working as a group, while Princess Haya calls world leaders to account for their failure to invest in the war on hunger and poverty. And from a Future Agricultures conference in Addis Ababa, we hear the views of a Kenyan politician, a member of the Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources, and a representative of CARE Ethiopia, on what needs to be done to give nomadic pastoralists a better future.
Audio link: http://wrenmedia.jellycast.com/files/audio/new-ag11-3.mp3
Article: Editorial, Pastoralism - seeking a better future, Uganda's red hot chilli trader, HRH Princess Haya Al Hussein

New Agriculturist podcast 2011-2

 (credit: © FAO/Desmond Kwande)

Reflecting the current focus on young people section in New Agriculturist, this podcast features pupils and the headteacher of Narumoru Primary School in Kenya, who explain how they are benefitting from their Healthy Learning programme. The links between gender and market-oriented agriculture are the subject of Points of view, and two contributors to that section - Anne Waters Bayer and Jemimah Njuki - highlight how they feel women’s contribution to development, through cash crop farming, can be promoted. Their ideas include achieving more prominent coverage of inspiring, independently successful women, as well as not ignoring the important role of men in attempting to correct gender imbalance in the household. And from a beach in The Gambia, Haddy Jallow and Fatou Corr explain how, with support from FAO, women fish smokers have improved their fish smoking techniques and learned how to get their voices heard by those in authority.
Audio link: http://wrenmedia.jellycast.com/files/audio/new-ag11-2.mp3
Article: Gender and market-oriented agriculture, Healthy learning, Woman organising to improve livelihoods, Editorial

Fish smokers get their voices heard

Women make up over 80 per cent of the Gambia's post-harvest operators (credit: © FAO/Djibril Sy)

Haddy Jatou Jallow earns a living from selling smoked fish in the Gambian fishing village of Brufut. Over the last two years, she and other fish processors - mostly women - have formed an association which is now helping them to get their voices heard by national authorities and international organisations. The Department of Fisheries, with support from FAO, has given training and improved equipment, enabling the women to reduce their losses and increase the quality of the fish they sell. But with financial support from that project now ending, what do the women fish processors need next to build on the achievements made so far?
Audio link: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=373
Article: Woman organising to improve livelihoods

Healthy learning for primary school children

Healthy Learning has been supporting children to use school-owned land to grow crops (credit: © VVOB Healthy Learning programme)

Kenya's Healthy Learning programme, running in 30 schools in eight arid and semi-arid districts, aims to improve child health and teach valuable skills for life. From simple activities such as hand-washing to production of crops for food and income, the programme integrates important life skills with academic learning, and encourages children to take what they learn at school and implement it at home. Geoffrey Onditi reports from Narumoru Primary School, where he speaks to the head teacher and to some of the pupils about the programme, and the benefits it is giving them.
Audio link: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=411
Article: Healthy learning

Protecting cowpeas in storage

Cowpeas are an important legume in the Sahelian tropical zones of Africa (credit: T. Abdoulaye/IITA)

Cowpea bruchids, commonly referred to as weevils, can destroy stored cowpeas in just a few weeks. In Nigeria, many farmers and traders therefore use chemicals such as actellic dust to protect their stored cowpeas. However, this can be dangerous for consumers, with hundreds made ill and 20 reported deaths from acute poisoning in Nigeria alone. So a group of partner organisations, including Nigeria's agricultural development project, are promoting the use of triple bagging. This involves storing cowpeas inside three strong plastic bags, in order to deny air to any insects that are feeding on the crop. Six hundred thousand farmers have already adopted the system.
Audio link: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=377
Article: Cowpea: bagging the bugs

University of the Bush - understanding pastoral lives

University of the Bush aims to enable pastoralists to engage with and comment on pastoralist-relevant research (credit: © David Hughes/Future Agricultures)

In November 2010, more than 50 pastoralists, politicians, donors and researchers met in Kenya to discuss the place of nomadic livestock keeping in national development, recent research findings and future policy options. Unusually, the meeting took place not in a conference centre but under an acacia tree, on the edge of a national park - one of a series of meetings called the University of the Bush. Two of the delegates - both from pastoral communities - spoke to Eric Kadenge about the critical issues currently facing pastoralists, including competition for land and pressure on livestock keepers to settle. They gave passionate views on why government policy should be supporting rather than undermining nomadic lives.
Audio link: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=393
Article: New initiative to include pastoralists in research

Comic book empowers young Kenyans

Shujaaz FM comic is Kenya's most widely distributed publication (credit: Shujaaz FM)

Young Kenyans have a new source of information. Shujaaz - meaning 'heroes' - is a comic that aims to raise awareness of important social issues and give new ideas for money making, including agricultural projects. The first half a million copies were recently printed and distributed; in this report, young people from a Nairobi slum youth project give their reactions to the comic. We also here from one of the artists, and an actor who will be playing one of the central characters in a daily Shujaaz radio programme.
Audio link: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=325
Article: Shujaaz FM - inspiring Kenya's young entrepreneurs

Rural reach - spreading and sharing agricultural knowledge

The mini laptops allow field agents to quickly report on the dissemination of new cassava varieties and the spread of diseases (credit: Carl Walsh)

How can the flow of information to, and within rural communities be improved? What kind of information are farmers looking for, and how to ensure that it is comprehensible and specific to their needs? Inappropriate language, technology and lack of investment can all be a barrier to effective communication, but some problems can be overcome, for example by farmers joining together to share information. Four delegates at a pan-African information 'Share Fair' offer their views on better ways to share and spread knowledge in rural areas.
Audio link: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=392
Article: Agricultural knowledge sharing

New Agriculturist podcast 2011-1

 (credit: Neil Palmer (CIAT))

Information and new ideas are among the most important of farming inputs. However, making them accessible, affordable and appropriate can be every bit as challenging as supplying physical inputs like seed or fertiliser. From the AgKnowledge Share Fair in Addis Ababa, Rosalind Murota and Jacqueline Nnam offer their views on the barriers to knowledge sharing and the strategies that work. Moving to Kenya, we hear from young people about the amazing Shujaaz comic, which in a year has become Kenya’s most widely distributed publication, giving young Kenyans the information and inspiration to become heroes in their communities. And from the shade of an acacia tree on the edge of Meru National Park, pastoralist elder Daoud Tari Abkula gives his verdict on the University of the Bush, an exciting new initiative to improve dialogue between livestock keepers, researchers and policymakers.
Audio link: http://wrenmedia.jellycast.com/files/audio/new-ag11-1.mp3
Article: Editorial, Agricultural knowledge sharing, Shujaaz FM - inspiring Kenya's young entrepreneurs, New initiative to include pastoralists in research

New Agriculturist podcast 2010-6

New Agriculturist podcast 2010-6

Facing a multitude of challenges, what are the key areas for change that could ensure a sustainable future, particularly for the planet’s most vulnerable people? From IDRC’s Gendered Terrain symposium in Nairobi, two delegates explain why for them, improving women’s right to land is critical in addressing hunger and poverty in Africa. And from northern Zimbabwe, ecologist Allan Savory advocates the need for a ‘brown revolution’ of soil restoration, based on an improved system of livestock grazing, in order to tackle desertification and climate change. Meanwhile in Kenya and Malawi, seed companies are changing their business models, targeting small-scale farmers with open pollinated varieties of drought-tolerant maize. Wilfred Mwangi of the International Centre for Maize and Wheat Improvement (CIMMYT) explains more.
Audio link: http://wrenmedia.jellycast.com/files/audio/new-ag10-6.mp3
Article: Editorial, Women's rights and access to land in Africa, Reversing desertification with livestock in Zimbabwe


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