Welcome to all!

    | June 16, 2008

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    As regular FRW readers know, we sometimes focus an edition around a particular issue of importance to farmers, often coinciding with a United Nations designated day. Over the next two editions of FRW, we will explore the issue of desertification, and the related issue of climate change.

    June 17 is World Day to Combat Desertification. Desertification, defined as land degradation in arid and semi-arid areas, can directly affect farmers by making farmland unusable or less productive. Climate change – marked by conditions such as rising temperatures and erratic rainfall patterns – makes the agricultural situation even worse in these areas.

    This week, we look at how some Nigerien farmers on the frontlines of desertification and climate change are guarding their lands by planting and protecting trees. We also have a story from Joshua Kyalimpa, our correspondent in Kampala, about a Ugandan company that is being honoured as a pioneer in sustainable energy use. By creating a low-tech solar dryers and marketing local dried fruit, Fruits of the Nile has improved the livelihoods of hundreds of farmers with minimal use of fossil fuels.

    In the Radio Resource Bank, you’ll find links to a fascinating resource created by the United Nations Environment Programme – an atlas of satellite photos that graphically illustrate how climate change and desertification have changed the landscape of the African continent over the past 30 years. And, in the Farm Radio Action section, you’ll learn how the leader of a Nigerian women farmers’ group captured the attention of international businesspeople by describing the effects of climate change in her area.

    For our newest African subscriber – Moussa Sodea Sylvestre, from radio Sawtu Linjiila, in Cameroun – we offer a special welcome, and hope that this edition provides an intriguing glimpse of what FRW has to offer. For a fuller picture, be sure to visit the FRW website (http://weekly.farmradio.org/) to post comments and discuss this week’s issue with other FRW community members. We also welcome all of our new and ongoing subscribers from other parts of the world!

    Stay tuned for next week’s edition of FRW, where we will feature more stories of small-scale farmers facing climate change and desertification, and the adaptation techniques that help them cope.

    Happy reading!

    -The Farm Radio Weekly Team