Notes to broadcasters on weather forecasts

    | November 12, 2012

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    As an accessible and trusted source of information for rural audiences, radio can play an important role in farming life by broadcasting accurate weather forecasts. These forecasts can help farmers with their day-to-day work in the fields, for example, by helping them decide when to plant and harvest crops. As this week’s story illustrates, radio can also play a vital role in advising audiences about forecasted natural disasters, such as flooding and drought, as well as information on steps people can take to protect their homes and farms.

    Does your radio station broadcast weather information? Where do you get your weather forecasts from? Consider visiting Barza, Farm Radio International’s social networking site for African radio broadcasters, to share your sources for – and experiences with – weather broadcasting.  (If you have not yet signed up for Barza, click here to register as a user: http://www.barzaradio.com/user/register)

    You may be interested in the following FRW articles about weather broadcasting on the radio:
    -Kenya: Traditional weather predictions used in official weather forecasts (FRW #195, April 2012)
    http://weekly.farmradio.org/2012/04/02/kenya-traditional-weather-predictions-used-in-official-weather-forecasts-alertnet/
    -Mali: Sali Samaké’s journey from literacy class to weather reports (FRW #147, March 2011) http://weekly.farmradio.org/2011/03/07/mali-sali-samake%e2%80%99s-journey-from-literacy-class-to-weather-reports-by-soumaila-t-diarra-for-farm-radio-weekly-in-mali/

    If you broadcast to a region which is prone to natural disasters, you might want to consider the role your station can play. Here are some ideas to increase your effectiveness in broadcasting information on disaster preparedness:

    -Tell your audience about the importance of food security and farmers, especially in times of natural disaster. Promote the crucial role of farmers in coping with disaster, and give them the respect they deserve.

    -Develop programs that shift people’s preferences away from imported food, especially during times of disaster, or during seasons when disasters often strike. Use programs to promote and stimulate demand for locally-grown food.

    -Establish rural phone “hot lines” before and during disasters. Use the hot lines as part of live call-in/text-in programs.

    -Ask popular artists and singers to lend their names (and talents) to radio campaigns about disaster preparedness and mitigation. Invite the artists to appear and be interviewed on your programs.

    -Highlight the cost of disasters to farmers and agricultural production as well as to the country as a whole. Invite representatives from government (for example, the Ministries of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries) and from NGOs to participate in informing the public.

    Additional information and scripts on disaster preparation, mitigation, and management can be found in Farm Radio International Package 64: http://www.farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/numerical.asp (Scroll down to scripts from Package 64.)