Notes to broadcasters: Access to markets

    | June 3, 2013

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    When farmers want to sell their produce, they usually need to take it to a market. Most often, this requires transport and a good road. But farmers often live in areas with few transport options or poorly maintained roads. This is often the main factor limiting their ability to make a living by selling produce.

    Farm-to-market roads are viewed by some as a major barrier which, if removed, could boost agricultural development in Africa. For example, here is a recent article on investing in infrastructure: “The greatest potential for Africa’s transformation” http://www.afronline.org/?p=9432

    Farm Radio International has produced scripts on processing and storage, market information, and crop production, many of which are relevant to this subject. You can browse these scripts here: http://www.farmradio.org/radio-resource-packs/package-66-from-harvest-to-market/

    Farm Radio Weekly has previously published news stories about farm-to-market roads, for example:

    Republic of Congo: Farmers solve rural road problem with their own hands: http://weekly.farmradio.org/2010/01/11/1-republic-of-congo-farmers-solve-rural-road-problem-with-their-own-hands-ips/

    DRC: Where roads go, farmers will follow:

    http://weekly.farmradio.org/2010/11/01/drc-where-roads-go-farmers-will-follow-syfia-grands-lacs/

    Côte d’Ivoire: Banana farmers and traders seek regional markets: http://weekly.farmradio.org/2010/02/08/1-cote-d%E2%80%99ivoire-banana-farmers-and-traders-seek-regional-markets-ips/

    Small-scale farmers may have poor access to markets to sell their products, a lack of bargaining power to buy inputs at better prices, and a lack of access to financial services. Agricultural co-operatives can help small-scale farmers overcome these constraints: http://www.netnewspublisher.com/agricultural-cooperatives-could-expand-and-make-an-even-greater-contribution-against-poverty-and-hunger/

    You might want to explore this topic further, especially if you broadcast to a remote area. Here are some questions to inspire your programming:

    -Are there rural communities in your listening area that have good access to markets via roads or other modes of transportation? Have the roads always been good? If not, who improved the roads? How are the roads maintained?

    -Are there rural communities in your listening area that are isolated due to poor road conditions or a lack of roads? Have the roads always been in poor condition, or have they deteriorated or been damaged in recent years?

    -Do poor roads prevent farmers in your area from accessing markets? How do farmers cope with this situation?

    -Do these isolated communities face other problems as a result of poor road conditions (for example, problems accessing health care or essential goods)? How do they cope with these problems?

    -What are communities affected by poor road conditions doing to improve their roads or gain access to good transportation? Do they have plans to correct the problem as a community or to access external funding?