Notes to broadcasters on famine preparedness

    | November 7, 2011

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    There have already been reports this season from the Sahel that poor rains are expected to lead to meagre harvests. The UN World Food Program (WFP) warns that, in Niger, we may see a repeat of last year’s food shortages. Families who have barely recovered from last year are most at risk.

    For the full report from WFP:

    Other news reports:

    -“Full scale food crisis threatens Niger and Mauritania”

    -“West Africa: Building resilience in the Sahel”

    You may wish to refer to previous FRW news items on this topic, including:

    -Sahel: Fighting malnutrition with local food security and water management initiatives (FRW 122, August 2010).

    -Mali and Niger: Dealing with drought (FRW 117, June 2010).

    Here are some Farm Radio International scripts that deal with drought and desertification:

    -Farmers in Niger benefit from letting trees grow in their fields (Package 88, Script 7, July 2009).

    -Make drylands productive with planting pits (Package 41, Script 1, September 1996).

    -A 13-part radio drama set in northern Nigeria entitled, “The long dry season: A tale of greed and resourcefulness” (Package 77, March 2006)

    -Micro-doses of Fertilizer Increase Yields in the Sahel (Package 79, Script 4, November 2006).

    Food shortages and droughts are common throughout Africa. One way to report on them is to look at how farmers, NGOs and governments can prepare for these difficult times. The situation in the Sahel affects millions of people. Try to investigate issues on a local or regional level. You could interview a range of people. Here are some questions to ask:
    -How do farmers and rural communities react to stories of famine from other regions?
    -Does the local government have plans in place to deal with such emergencies?
    -If your region is ever affected by floods, drought or hunger, how do NGOs and local authorities respond? Should they do more?

    -Can individual farming families take effective actions by themselves, or are collective actions needed?