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Africa's rice revolution

Father Godfrey Nzamujo, founder and director of the Songhai Centre in Benin

Founder of the Songhai Centre, Father Godfrey Nzamujo is one of the most respected figures in African agriculture. The centre, which focused on training young people, has now expanded to six sites in Benin and one in Nigeria, and has attracted international recognition and praise. In Africa's rice revolution Father Nzamujo explains why he believes the NERICA rice varieties offer hope, not only to African farmers but to millions of others in the African rice industry.
Audio link: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=95
Article: Father Godfrey Nzamujo, founder of the Songhai Centre, Porto Novo, Benin

New Rices for Africa - ideal for women?

Members of a women's farming group in Deve, Benin, check their harvest of NERICA rice

The New Rices for Africa, known as the NERICAs, were first released in Cote d’Ivoire in 1999/2000. Since then, 18 upland NERICAs have been developed, which are now being tested and grown in over 30 sub-Saharan African countries. In Africa, most upland (non-irrigated) rice farmers are women. For them, the qualities of the NERICAs are especially valuable, as Dr Rita Agboh-Noameshie, of the Africa Rice Center, explains.
Audio link: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=91
Article: New rice for African women

Know your market - the case of khat

Bundles of khat, captured by the DEA in 2006 (credit: US Drug Enforcement Agency)

Khat, a mild narcotic, has only semi-legal status in Kenya. As a result, agricultural advisory services have ignored it. Despite this, however, farmers have transferred advice they have received for other crops to their khat cultivation, with good results. Geoffrey Kamau of the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute discusses the implications, both for khat production and for other crops.
Audio link: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=90
Article: Growing demand for Kenya's khat

Drip, drip, drip - irrigating vegetables

Concrete reservoir beside market garden, Ouagadougou

Susanna Thorp talks to ICRISAT project coordinator Iddal Sidi Mohamed and vegetable farmer Tiendrebeogo Hamado, about the value of low-pressure drip irrigation systems for horticultural production. The African Market Garden project is currently introducing these systems in nine countries across West Africa, and has helped over 2000 vegetable farmers to achieve impressive increases in yield and income.
Audio link: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=116
Article: Drip irrigating the gardens of the Sahel

New Agriculturist podcast 2007-2

Inspecting passion fruit crop. Meeting tough standards is a vital consideration for exporters.

This podcast is a 'pod' broadcast in the true sense of the word. It begins in a plot of perfect pea pods in the fertile fields in the foothills of the Aberdare Mountains of Central Kenya where Susie Emmett meets the farmer, Virginia Wangiru, and her technical advisors Peter Gakira and Daniel Kinothi. They tell the story of the mange tout pods they grow for the European market and the remarkable rise of smallholder export horticulture and farmer producer groups in Kenya. But is there a black cloud hovering over this new agricultural driver of rural economies? Environmental concerns about the pollution from aircraft freighting produce around the globe could mean consumers may think twice before picking tropical-grown produce off the shelf. Russell N'gan'ga, the farmer group's chairman, and others in Kenya, give snappy responses to this threat.
Audio link: http://wrenmedia.jellycast.com/files/audio/new-ag07-2.mp3
Article: The food miles debate, Editorial

New Agriculturist podcast 2007-1

Flooding in Tana River Delta, Kenya (credit: UNICEF, Nicholas Owen)

Getting back to basics at the start of a new year, Susie Emmett, of the New Agriculturist team, and Mitch the dog take a walk around Susie's farm. On the way, Susie reflects that for farmers there's really no such thing as a 'New Year', just a constant cycle of changing seasons and activities. She also introduces us to some of the people who have made a contribution to this edition of New Agriculturist. Katherine Sierra, vice president for sustainable development at the World Bank and new chair of the CGIAR, offers her personal perspective on the challenges facing farming and agricultural science. From China, Zhang Zongwen of the newly renamed Bioversity International (formerly IPGRI), describes work being done to strengthen the tools for preserving genetic resources. And Alice Itotia from Kenya, reveals how happy she is about new kale lines, selected by fellow farmers. The new lines, developed with support from CABI and the Kenyan Agricultural Research Institute, have transformed her production of sukuma wiki, the vegetable crop that Kenyans say pushes them through the week. We hope Alice's excitement helps to push you through yours!
Audio link: http://wrenmedia.jellycast.com/files/audio/new-ag07-1.mp3
Article: This issue

Deep freezing for the future

Field of buckwheat (credit: Zhang Zongwen, Bioversity China)

In Beijing, Bioversity International is supporting Chinese genebanks to develop a low cost method for storing crops. Researcher Dr Zhang Zhongwen explains how Chinese scientists are using these low cost techniques to preserve plant samples for future crop development programmes. For further information about Dr Zhongwen's involvement in improving buckwheat in China see article Buckwheat bucks the trend.
Audio link: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=120
Article: Buckwheat bucks the trend

Pushing for better kale production 2

Kale leaves are tied ready to be packed and trucked to markets across Kenya

With improved kale seeds, Kinale farmer, Ndirangu Njoroge, has set his sights on a new goal. Dynamic, ambitious, and with the full support of the project partners, Njoroge has formed a group with his neighbours, to set up commercial seed production. Hear this farmer's entrepeneruial ambitions to produce quality disease-free kale seed.
Audio link: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=112
Article: Cleaning up Kenyan kale

Pushing for better kale production 1

Kale leaves are tied ready to be packed and trucked to markets across Kenya

Kale, known as Sukuma wiki, is one of Kenya's most important vegetable crops. However, obtaining good quality kale seed is a problem. Working with farmers from Kinale, Kenyan scientists have identified five lines of improved kale seed for testing by farmers. Hear a farmers' perspective on which of the five improved kale varieties he thought was most successful.
Audio link: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=111
Article: Cleaning up Kenyan kale


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