News briefs

    | July 15, 2013

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    Farm Radio Weekly has a new trial resource for you: Farmer news briefs. These are stories from across the continent which have been adapted from print or online sources and are suitable for use in your regular farm radio program. Read them, edit them, broadcast them, localize them, or simply use them as background info. Want more details? Click the link under the story to see the original article.

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    1- Kenyan farmers winning battle with striga

    Thousands of farmers in western Kenya are successfully battling the parasitic weed, striga. Studies have shown that striga is the biggest constraint to maize production in western Kenya. The “violet vampire,” as striga is known, can wipe out entire maize crops.

    The Integrated Striga Management Project is introducing farmers to successful methods of managing the weed. Farmers have successfully tackled striga by intercropping maize with legumes like groundnuts, rotating maize with soybeans, and using the “push-pull system.”

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    2- Tanzania: Compost made from grass makes effective fertilizer

    Farmers in coastal Tanzania are transforming readily available grass into rich fertilizer.

    A non-profit organization taught them the following simple method: Slash available grass and dry it. Place the dried grass in a shallow pit. Mix with green grass and sprinkle with water. Then cover with soil to speed the decomposition process.

    Two months later, the grass is transformed into rich, dark compost ready to fertilize vegetable gardens.

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    3- Tanzania: Government distributes subsidized sorghum seeds

    The Tanzanian government is helping farmers get seeds of an improved drought-tolerant sorghum.

    Sorghum is well-suited to dry areas. It is hardy, resilient, and better-adapted than maize to harsh environments.

    To encourage farmers to grow these high-yielding varieties, the Tanzanian government is distributing subsidized sorghum seed in all 24 regions of the country.

    According to experts, sorghum could significantly improve food security and incomes for small-scale farmers, especially farmers living in areas when maize production has dropped due to low rainfall.

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