Nelly Bassily | January 21, 2008
Many of you have likely heard of – if not experienced firsthand – the global trend towards higher food prices. As our correspondent in Dakar, Idy Sy Diop, reported in Issue 3 of FRW, farmers who have produce to sell generally welcome higher food prices:
But for those who must purchase food, including farmers hit with drought or flooding, rising food prices are cause for concern. Over the past several months, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned of a potential crisis in some food-importing countries due to low food supplies. On January 14, the FAO held a press conference in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, to announce a US$17 million (11 million Euro) fund to quickly boost agriculture production in 50 countries that are normally dependent on food imports. At the time of our publication, the FAO had not released the list of countries that will benefit from this fund, or what mechanisms will be used to reach farmers with fertilizer and seeds. We will continue to seek out this information and will provide the details, as they become available, in future issues of FRW.
You may consider hosting a call-in show on which people in your broadcast area can share their experiences with food supply and prices:
-How do farmers rate their food yields this year, compared with last year?
-Are farmers receiving more or less for their produce than they did last year?
-What price differences have people noticed in their local markets or food stores?
-If food prices are higher, how has this affected people’s ability to feed their family and purchase other necessities?
-What are farmers and communities doing to ensure reliable access to food, even when imported foods are not accessible?
Radio organizations in West Africa, in particular, may wish to refer to a press release from the United Nations’ Integrated Regional Information Networks, which describes how global and regional trends are causing food prices to rise in this region:
You may also wish to browse through DCFRN’s past scripts on the subjects of crop production (http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/crop.asp) and food processing and storage (http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/food.asp), and air one or more that are most relevant to your listeners.