Notes to broadcasters: Farmers, traders and markets

    | July 15, 2013

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    Farmers often have a difficult relationship with traders, but traders are an essential link in the chain which links farmers’ fields to our tables. In this story, Mama Kathy created a flourishing business buying leafy vegetables from farmers and selling them at the market.

    Traders are essential to the whole business of farming. This story from Mali (“Women traders play crucial role in providing locally-adapted seeds,” issue #9, February, 2008) shows how farmers rely on traders to supply them with the right kind of inputs, in this case seeds, for their crops. You can read it here:

    The vegetables in this story are non-timber forest products, or NTFPs. Eru is another name for okok, and is known by the scientific name of Gnetum africanum. Farm Radio Weekly has produced stories about forest foods before. In March, 2013, “Women earn income from forest foods without deforestation” (issue #240, told of a women’s co-operative in Minwoho village, central Cameroon, that is replanting the local forest to ensure the survival of eru/okok.

    “Farmers tame wild okok to increase income” (issue #251, June 2013) is about Mr. Roger Awana, who established a nursery to grow and sell okok seedlings to nearby farmers. You can read the story through this link:

    Farmers need to get their crops to market, and people like Mama Kathy are the intermediaries who provide this service. Sometimes farmers are exploited by traders, and only receive fair prices when market conditions change. For example, a recent story from June 2013 (“Farmers travel road to success,” issue #248) can be found here:

    There are Notes to broadcasters on NTFPs available here:

    Further Notes to broadcasters on access to markets can be accessed through this link:

    What is the relationship between farmers, traders and consumers in your listening area? Why not make a documentary by interviewing the people in your local market, getting their views on the cost of food? The traders will have a different view than the consumers, and farmers will have their opinions too! You could host an entertaining phone-in show after airing the documentary.