Notes to broadcasters
In many communities women grow most of the food. But often their work is not recognized. The important contribution of women farmers to food production deserves to be acknowledged and valued. It is necessary to listen to women’s concerns about farming and support them by providing access to land and credit so they can maximize food production.
Suggestions: We recommend that you conduct interviews with women in your own community to demonstrate their knowledge and expertise. When doing interviews with women, go on foot to meet the women at their own homes. Conduct interviews in an informal, relaxed and respectful manner. It is preferable to keep the interviews short, probably not more than one hour.
MUSIC TO INTRODUCE PROGRAM.
FADE OUT MUSIC.
I want to start today’s program by telling you something that has been bothering me. I feel that here in my village we do not value and appreciate the work of women farmers. In fact their work is often ignored.
Who are the women of my village?
The women of my village are farmers. They grow most of our food. They tend crops in the fields. They grow nutritious garden vegetables. They take it upon themselves to sell extra produce at the market so they can buy clothes and books for our children. In my village it is even the women who take care of the livestock — they cut feed for animals and take cattle to graze. They make medicines from wild plants. They have special ways to store seeds. They preserve fish, meat, vegetables and fruits by smoking or drying them.
Need I say more? I’m sure you understand that they are very hardworking.
FADE IN MUSIC(a short musical break here will allow the listener to consider Chief Kufa’s message).
CONTINUE MUSIC QUIETLY UNDER NARRATOR.
BRING MUSIC TO NORMAL VOLUME FOR 5 SECONDS AND FADE OUT.
In our village you are known as a farmer who gets very high yields of grain. Is it possible for you to explain your high yields of maize and sorghum?
Let me tell you how I do it. First, like many other farmers, I store my grain in gunny bags.
Then, I mix the grain with different things to protect it from pests. I am always trying new methods. I have tried wood ash, powder from soap nuts, nochi leaves, neem leaves and eucalyptus leaves. When one of these methods works — I use it.
So, Chief Kufa, I always have a lot of grain to sell and the reason, as I have said, is that there is not much insect damage in my stores.
PLAY MUSIC FOR 3 SECONDS AND CONTINUE QUIETLY UNDER NARRATOR.
FADE OUT MUSIC.
And there is something else I should tell you. Because I do so much farm work, my husband and I agreed that I will decide how to spend the money from farming. Now I still have my own income. I use the money for food and clothing for the children. We all have a better life now.
MUSIC(uplifting and cheerful).
CONTINUE MUSIC SOFTLY UNDER NARRATOR.
FADE OUT MUSIC.
The question concerns a drought that we had two years ago. Everybody in this village remembers that drought. Some villagers say it was the women who saved the village from starvation.
START MUSIC AND HOLD QUIETLY UNDER NARRATIVE(starting music here will emphasize the important points that the chief is about to discuss).
We must consider this. Women produce most of our food. Listening to them and responding to their needs is the only way to increase food production in our villages.
HOLD MUSIC AND FADE OUT.
Contributed by: Jennifer Pittet, Researcher/Writer, Toronto, Canada.
Reviewed by: Dr. Helen Hambly, Research Officer, International Service for National Agricultural Research (ISNAR), The Hague, The Netherlands.
“Women and dryland post-harvesting practices in Tamil-Nadu, India,” S. Parvathi, K. Chandrakandan and C. Karthikeyan, Indigenous Knowledge and Development Monitor, Volume 8, Issue 1, March 2000. Centre for International Research and Advisory Networks, PO Box 29777, 2502 LT The Hague, The Netherlands.
“Organic farming lifts the status of women,” John W. Njoroge, Ecology and Farming, January 1996. International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, Okozentrum Imsbach, D-66636 Tholey-Theley, Germany.
“African women farmers utilize local knowledge,” Monika Hoffmann-Kuehnel, ILEIA Newsletter, December 1989. Information Centre for Low-External Input and Sustainable Agriculture, Kastanjelaan 5, PO Box 64, 3830 AB Leusden, The Netherlands.