Notes to Broadcasters on violence in Kenya:

    | January 21, 2008

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    The immediate human toll of Kenya’s post-election violence has been widely reported. We know that an estimated 600 people have been killed and more than 200,000 people have fled their homes. In this first instalment of FRW’s four-part series on food and conflict, we look at how violent conflict in certain areas of Kenya may impact food security across the country.

    As the news story states, some of the areas hardest hit by violence are also important food-producing regions. Food production has been affected in many ways, beyond the impacts of farmers fleeing violence. In some cases, farms have been burned and livestock and other productive assets stolen or destroyed. In other cases, farmers who stayed on their land are unable to get their food to markets because fuel prices are high and roads unsafe. There are also reports of farmers being unable to access basic agricultural supplies. As we hope for a swift and peaceful resolution to the conflict in Kenya, we know that it will take time for food production to be re-established.

    While researching this story, we came across other examples of food production and cash crop agriculture being affected, including:
    -Fishers on the Kenyan side of Lake Victoria unable to access fuel for their boats, or stopping their fish harvest because they have no refrigeration and can’t get their fish to market on time;
    -Hundreds of sugar plantations in the Nyando and South Nyanza sugar belt set ablaze by arsonists;
    -Tea plantations under-harvested in the Kericho District – the centre of Kenya’s tea production – as more than a third of employees have fled violence;
    -Flower farmers reporting huge losses because of shipping difficulties and the high cost of security to prevent looting.

    If you wish to explore the subject of conflict and food security in your area, here are some questions that may help you start:
    -If your broadcast area is experiencing an ongoing violent conflict, what are farmers doing to cope?
    – If your broadcast area has recovered from a conflict in recent years (or decades), what strategies did farmers and farmers’ associations use to re-build agriculture production and distribution systems?
    -What methods do communities in your broadcast area use to resolve disputes? Can you find an example of a community that resolved an important dispute?

    Please see this week’s Radio Resource Bank and DCFRN Action for information and examples of how radio can promote peace and conflict resolution. You may also consider using the Script of the Week, as it provides practical advice about “survival crops.”