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New Agriculturist podcast 2010-2

 (credit: FAO/Dick Trenchard)

From a warm evening in Ghana and the chirpy accompaniment of cicadas, Susie Emmett and Mike Davison reflect on the success that has resulted from the introduction of an appropriate, affordable and manageable technology that is serving dairy farmers in central Kenya. Highly nutritious fodder shrubs have enabled those farmers to keep their milk production going even during the country's long, recent drought. And from India, three development specialists offer their points of view on how to achieve last mile delivery - bringing information, ideas and inputs to the rural communities that need them.
Audio link: http://wrenmedia.jellycast.com/files/audio/new-ag10-2.MP3
Article: Editorial, Fodder shrubs deliver dairy success, Reaching the last mile

Extending the reach of radio to farmers

 (credit: IRRI)

Millions of people in the world's most remote communities live beyond the reach of radio. And for those who don't read and write, getting information is even more difficult. In the past, government extension services may have provided support, by actually visiting and advising farmers. But such services are now very thin on the ground, so finding other ways of spreading information is vital. Pius Sawa reports now from Apac district in northern Uganda, where an information centre and a local radio station are working together to give rural communities the farming advice they need.
Audio link: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=314
Article: Reaching the last mile

Plant your own fertiliser factory

Lisa Sendwe with Faidherbia seed, CFU Nursery, Zambia 2 (credit: Georgina Smith)

The leaves of the Faidherbia albida tree are rich in nitrogen, phosphorus and other nutrients. Plants that grow beneath the trees benefit from their annual leaf fall, which fertilises the soil and counteracts soil acidity. In Zambia, the Conservation Farming Unit is encouraging farmers to plant 100 of the trees per hectare, at 10 metre intervals, as a long term means of boosting soil fertility. Over 160,000 farmers have already begun to do so.
Audio link: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=305
Article: Faidherbia - Africa's fertiliser factory

New Agriculturist podcast 2010-1

At the start of a new decade, it is a time to look forward to the challenges ahead

From the excitement and passion of a football match in Kumasi, Ghana, Susie Emmett introduces some of the highlights of the first edition of New Agriculturist in 2010. We hear from Alex Coupy, head chef at the 5 Star Royal Livingstone Hotel in Zambia, who now sources 70 per cent of his fresh fruit and vegetables from local smallholder farmers. Collins Nkatiko and Lillian Phiri explain how a unique African acacia tree can transform soil fertility, while Dorothy Dieudou offers a potted guide to perfect compost making. Some good news and inspiration for the new year from New Agriculturist.
Audio link: http://wrenmedia.jellycast.com/files/audio/new-ag10-1.mp3
Article: Editorial, Pineapple waste not, want not, Zambia: meeting a tall order

Community science understanding drought

Maasai community leaders commissioned the drought survey, and will gather to discuss its findings

In East Africa, drought has caused terrible losses, with cattle dying in large numbers. Now, some livestock keepers have decided to conduct a drought survey, to find out what they could have done to be better prepared. Kofi Adu Domfeh visited some of those who took part, to find out how useful such community-driven research can be.
Audio link: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=287
Article: Coping with drought: A community-led response

New Agriculturist podcast 2009-6

The role of the media as an effective player in agricultural and rural development is often undervalued

From Sampu Camp, on an escarpment overlooking Kenya’s South Rift Valley, journalists Busani Bafana and Geoffrey Onditi enjoy a spectacular view, whilst mourning the losses to livestock and livelihood inflicted by a two year drought in the region. Maasai leader John Kamanga, author of this edition’s Perspective, explains how local people are preparing themselves to cope better with future droughts, and learning lessons from pastoralist groups from around the world. Meanwhile, in Brussels, five participants at an international conference give their points of view on the role of the media in promoting agricultural development.
Audio link: http://wrenmedia.jellycast.com/files/audio/new-ag09-6.mp3
Article: Editorial, John Kamanga, Role of the media in agricultural development

Drought response - reduce livestock numbers

With water sources drying up and grazing resources under pressure, livestock herders in northern Kenya are being encouraged to slaughter their weaker animals. The approach is recommended by the recently published Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards (LEGS), but implementing it has involved building the trust of pastoralist communities. Under a destocking programme, the communities are being paid for animals that are killed, and also receive the meat. Dan Irura, programme manager for VSF Belgium in Turkana, explains how it has worked.
Audio link: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=274
Article: Pastoralists suffer in East Africa

Uganda's agricultural stock-take

IMG_0039 (credit: Pius Sawa)

In 2008, Uganda carried out a national livestock census, to gather figures for its numbers of cattle, goats, sheep, pigs, chickens and ducks, as well as information about production systems and farm infrastructure. Currently, the country is undertaking a full agricultural census, in order that policies can be developed to meet actual needs in farming communities. Census enumerators are using Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to record the data, as Pius Sawa finds out when he visits a farm being surveyed.
Audio link: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=273
Article: Uganda's GPS stock-take

Hungry season - a deepening crisis

Unpredictable rainfall makes it increasingly difficult for farmers to plan their cropping cycles (credit: Annie Bungeroth /Oxfam)

Despite countless initiatives to boost agricultural production in sub-Saharan Africa, seasonal hunger continues to blight the lives of millions of families. Poor storage is just one reason behind it, with farmers losing much of their harvest to pests and damage. As a result, in the weeks and even months prior to harvest, families have to scrape by on minimal food or income. And with climate change making rainfall increasingly unpredictable in many areas, small-scale farmers seem to be more vulnerable than ever. At a recent workshop - Seasonality revisited - experts considered the best ways forward. Hungry season - a deepening crisis presents a selection of their views.
Audio link: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=279
Article: Uncovering seasonality

New Agriculturist podcast 2009-5

The monsoon rains in India have been about 30 per cent below normal

With the wheat and barley harvested, our New Agriculturist podcast comes from the fringes of a wind-swept stubble field in the UK. The seasons are on the turn, and changing seasons are also under discussion. For example, what kind of support do farmers need to cope with an increasingly unpredictable climate? Meanwhile, Uganda is busy analysing this year’s farm yields; we learn the views of field staff and the office number-crunchers on the value of conducting a national agricultural survey. And, from the shore of Lake Victoria, we hear how locally-run Beach Management Units are tackling over-harvesting, by confiscating unsuitable nets.
Audio link: http://wrenmedia.jellycast.com/files/audio/new-ag09-5.mp3
Article: Editorial, Uncovering seasonality, Uganda's GPS stock-take, Net improvement for Lake Victoria


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