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Radio station as a tool for Ethiopian farmers

Wednesday 27 April 2016, by SIGNIS

Addis-Abeba, April, 27th, 2016 (Wire.Barza). In Ethiopia, farmers are facing difficult weather conditions: heavy rains, or, on the contrary, severe droughts. Therefore, Harvesting becomes more and more difficult. However, thanks to the radio station Dimtsi Weyane Tigray, farmers manage to organize themselves against unpredictable weather. The Wire.Barza website wrote an article focusing on this station, and on the positive effect that it has on the local population.

The station usually broadcasts programmes on information on environmental conservation, micro-irrigation, growing vegetables, animal husbandry, beekeeping, nutrition, and marketing. But after hearing feedbacks from their listeners, the station decided to change its programming to address the impact of the drought. The station wants to be as usefull as possible for its listeners, so changes its programmes to stick to the actuality.

During a drought, there is little need to discuss micro-irrigation or water harvesting. Farmers were more concerned with saving their remaining crops and animals, while preventing the spread of plant and animal diseases.

The station decided to air programmes on ways to cope with the drought, such as early harvesting, and ways to manage failed crops, such as using them for livestock feed. The programmes also broadcast livestock prices for farmers looking to sell their animals. The broadcasters also took care to discuss the weather forecast and the El Niño weather phenomenon.

A farmer explains: “Radio can help us to deal with these difficulties through providing information on how to cope with the undesirable effects of the drought.”
Dimtsi Weyane Tigray is one of four radio stations working with Farm Radio International to develop demand-led interactive farm radio services in Ethiopia, Malawi, Tanzania, and Uganda. But, given the recent drought in Ethiopia, Farm Radio International supported the station to adapt their programming and create a 10-week-long initiative on the drought and the resulting humanitarian response.

Because Dimtsi Weyane Tigray changed course, its listeners know they can continue to rely on the station for the agricultural information they need—rain or shine.

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