Nelly Bassily | February 1, 2010
Last year’s caterpillar outbreak in Liberia wreaked havoc on many villages and triggered concerns about food shortages resulting from crop destruction. There were fears that neighbouring countries were at risk. One year later, it is heartening to hear about the resilience of farmers in affected areas, and the community effort that got farming back on track.
If you have a story about how a community in your listening area has recovered from a serious pest outbreak, we would be interested in hearing about it. Please consider posting your story in the comments section of this article, or e-mail FRW Editor Heather Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are some suggestions on how your radio organization might approach programming during a major pest outbreak:
1) If you broadcast in an area that is, or may be, directly affected by the outbreak:
-Keep in touch with relevant authorities and NGOs for accurate and up-to-date information on the situation, and take note of any support services available to those who are affected.
-If possible, send reporters to speak with people in affected areas, or people who have fled affected areas. Find out how they are affected and what they are doing to cope.
2) If you broadcast in an area that is unlikely to be directly affected by the current crisis:
-Consider informing your listeners about the pest outbreak.
-Broadcast information on how to control the pest or other pests that pose a threat to farmers in the area.
If your area is periodically threatened by pests such as desert locusts which cannot be controlled by individual farmers alone, you may consider a program that answers questions such as:
-How do farmers’ organizations in your area work together to combat locust swarms or other pests that cannot be controlled by individual farmers alone?
-What measures do individual farmers or farmers’ organizations in your area take to prepare for food shortages caused by natural disasters? What other measures could they take?