| December 6, 2010

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    Welcome to the many new subscribers who have joined our network in recent weeks: Ohemeng Tawiah from Nhriya FM in Ghana; Charles Munjeza from Department of Agricultural Technical and Extension Services, Zimbabwe; Mercyline Jerusa from Egerton University and Peter Ingolo, a farmer, both from Kenya; Shepi Mati from Democracy Radio IDASA, and Willemse Douw, an environmental adviser both from South Africa; Felix Orianan, from Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service, Nigeria; Francois Ntedika from PARC and  Jean Paul Ilinga with Arderi Kolwezi, both in DRC; El Hadji Saidou Nourou Dia from UNHCR in Senegal; Simon Mpei with Cooperation et Developpement sans Frontiere, Alain Mevengue with CRTV Radio, and Georges Mbatsogo with ODELBIS, all in Cameroon; and Jean Marc Besse with Horizon in Madagascar.

    This week’s issue is dedicated to World AIDS Day. We are proud to present three new stories written especially for Farm Radio Weekly. The stories focus on farmers’ lives, and serve to highlight their daily concerns in relation to HIV and AIDS. Next week we will bring you more stories from farmers on HIV and AIDS.

    The first story is from Burkina Faso. Free antiretroviral medication now allows many people living with HIV to take medicine regularly. But concerns remain about adequate nutrition and the future of funding for support programs.

    In Zambia, a group of farmers living with HIV has formed a small co-operative. They grow vegetables and keep livestock. They produce enough to meet their own nutritional needs and to donate food to other HIV-positive community members.

    From Malawi, we receive a variety of impressions about World AIDS Day. Farmers welcome greater involvement in activities, and are keen to raise awareness and learn more.

    In 2009, around 1.3 million people died from AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. In the same year, 1.8 million people were infected with HIV. The vast majority of people living with HIV and AIDS in Africa are between the ages of 15 and 49. Because the most productive age group in society is affected, these statistics translate into harsh realities for millions. Families cannot pass agricultural knowledge through generations, food production and security drops, and the make-up of the family changes, with more child- or grandparent-headed households. Yet our stories show farmers wanting more information, initiating their own activities and supporting each other.

    A note of concern runs through the stories – that while many people benefit from free antiretroviral medication, they still need continued support of various forms.

    We hope you enjoy these stories. Perhaps they will inspire you to research and produce your own stories and programs to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS. Remember to share your efforts with us at:

    Happy reading!

    -The Farm Radio Weekly team