Notes to broadcasters on date palms

    | September 22, 2012

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    Hademine Ould Saleck, the imam of Nouakchott’s main mosque, told IPS that there is a baraka (blessing) in dates. He explains that dates are often the first thing eaten to break the fast during the holy month of Ramadan. While dates are important to the economy of Mauritania and form the basis of the livelihoods of 20,000 of its citizens, the food, and the growing of date palms, has a much larger role in the culture. This makes it even more important that date producers succeed, and underlines the seriousness of the new challenges they face.

    You might wish to produce a program on a local crop that holds great cultural significance, perhaps in addition to its importance to farmer livelihoods. This could be a food or other crop that is meaningful in your local community, or one that is a source of national pride. These sorts of agricultural products can sometimes escape a journalist’s eye because they are so ingrained in daily life. But a feature story or call-in program could play many interesting roles: increasing appreciation for the farmers who produce the crop; raising awareness of challenges that these producers face; or simply giving people the opportunity to reflect on what the crop means to them.