Hello to all!

    | February 22, 2010

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    We are excited to welcome you to the 100th edition of Farm Radio Weekly! On this special occasion, we welcome our newest subscribers: Mathieu Bilgo, from the Association école des citoyens in Burkina Faso; Ficard Ndayimirije, from the Réseau d’actions paisibles des anciens combattants pour le développement intégré de tous au Burundi; Dezai Kemonean from RADIO N4GOWA in Côte d’Ivoire; Marcel Edson Abissa Kobenan, from Lusophilie Côte d’Ivoire; Noël Banimba Gaston, from Urgence d’Afrique in Republic of Congo; Michelle Gomperts, from One Acre Fund in Rwanda; John O’Connell, from Turf-Ag Products in South Africa; and Ahmed Abdel-Azim, a veterinarian from Sudan.

    To celebrate this FRW landmark, we are re-publishing some of the best news stories from our first 99 editions. Our first featured story received more web hits than any other in the past year. It was written for FRW by David De Dau, who visited members of a Sudanese community whose land had been taken over or threatened by soldiers and by a petroleum company. It was the first in our special series on land grabbing, which appeared in June and July 2009, and which proved extremely popular among our readers. Other stories in the series came from Malawi, Uganda, and Ghana. Each looked at how farmers have mobilized to protect their communities against land-grab attempts.

    Our second featured story was named most often as a favourite in Farm Radio Weekly’s 2009 subscriber survey. FRW Editor Heather Miller prepared this story after visiting the village of Kitete, in eastern Tanzania, with local agricultural radio broadcaster Lilian Manyuka. Many farmers in this village have taken up chicken farming in order to provide protein for their families and to boost their incomes. The story explains how, with the help of Lilian’s radio program, poultry producers are learning to reduce their losses.

    We chose other stories for this edition by noting which topics subscribers told us were important to them, and which other stories were named as favourites in our recent subscriber survey. Because climate change was the topic of greatest interest to our readers, we’re featuring two stories that show farmers taking practical steps to adapt. James Ssenabulya, from Nakaseke Community Radio in Uganda, said that a story about Nigerien farmers fighting desertification was his favourite. “If farmers can get the spirit of re-planting or letting trees grow in their fields, this will help conserve the environment and at the same time giving them some revenue,” he wrote. A second climate change adaptation story comes from Zimbabwe, where farmers are discovering techniques to maintain livestock and crops, despite increasingly uncertain weather patterns.

    Farm Radio Weekly subscribers also told us they are very interested in stories on farmer innovation, seeds, and women in agriculture. So we’re featuring a story about an innovation by a women’s organization in Burkina Faso, and a story about a traditional seed fair revived by women farmers in Mozambique. Mahoua Hien prepared the story of a Burkinabé women’s cooperative that created a product, and found an export market, after discovering a new use for shea. Lastly, our story from Mozambique was described as a favourite by François Blackye Ngueye-Nze, from the rural development NGO Club de l’Amitié, in Gabon. “This story interested us in particular because we want to do this type of activity where farmers will exchange seeds,” he said.

    Happy reading!

    -The Farm Radio Weekly Team