Script 64.2

Notes to broadcasters

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Most rural people understand the importance of trees in mitigating climate and protecting against the effects of disasters. Trees act as windbreaks, they provide protection from heavy rain, and they provide shade so that the soil doesn’t dry up. They hold water and soil in place. Trees also provide food in times of emergency.

You can encourage your listeners to protect, value, and plant trees by discussing the many ways that trees can be used. Trees can be used to feed livestock, provide protection from wind, mark boundaries, and provide fuel to cook and food to eat. Do trees have other uses in your area? Why not investigate, and invite guests to speak about trees on your program.

We suggest that you assign a week or month to special programming about trees and forests. These stories, or radio spots, can also be used as “advertisements” to promote your program about trees. Or, you might want to insert the following stories to use as breaks in a longer program that you research and write yourself. Two of the spots show that trees can provide food in times of drought. Please replace the crops featured in these spots with trees that are known to your audience. Once you have adapted the spot, you can use it several times, at different times of the day, in the week before your program.


Story #1: Trees against hunger

: There is a serious drought in the village of Wonga. It hasn’t rained at all this year. Relief supplies are being brought in, but people are still hungry. Most families are eating only one meal a day.

[surprised] But one family in the village does not seem to be suffering! All the local people are talking about Mrs. Lucy Nandwa! Why do Lucy and her family have enough food, even at a time like this? Everybody wants to know! Listen! Maybe we will hear the answer today at market where several villagers have gathered.

Yes, I was at Lucy’s house yesterday, and I know why she still has plenty of food! On her land she has ‘trees against hunger’.

Trees against hunger? What do you mean?

That’s what she calls them. They are trees that can survive dry weather and drought. So, even when the rains fails, and the cereal crops fail, these trees provide food for her family.

I know the tree you are talking about – it used to grow wild around here. The real name of this tree is enset, or false banana.

Yes! That’s it. It looks like a banana plant, but it is larger – some of her plants are 10 metres high! Lucy harvests food from the stem and the underground bulb.

Maybe Lucy can help us learn more about how we can grow this ‘tree against hunger’. Let’s talk to her!

Do you know a tree that provides food, even in a drought or a flood, when other crops fail? If so, please contact us at this station and tell us about it. We will feature your tree on one of our next programs. Let us know about your ‘tree against hunger’!

Source: “Enset – the tree against hunger,” in LEISA Magazine, April 2001.

Story #2: A successful innovator

Have you ever thought about how you learn to plant, and what to plant? Most of us learn from each other, and from observation.

Today I’m going to talk about Mr. Abdul Khadar Nadakattin, a farmer from India, who is a successful innovator. An innovator is someone who experiments, and tries new things. This story is about Mr. Nadakattin’s experiments with drought-resistant trees.

Some years ago, Mr. Nadakattin inherited some land and money from his father. The land was in a dry region of India, where the rains were unpredictable. After careful consideration, he decided to practise horticulture on the land. He planted sapota, and ber trees, between rows of mango. But the rains failed, and his crops suffered from drought. Although he was disappointed, he did not give up. In a moment, you’ll hear how Mr. Nadakattin used his powers of observation to succeed!


Mr. Nadakattin was an observant man. He noticed that in a nearby orchard there was one kind of tree that had survived the drought. That tree was called tamarind. Not only did it survive – it also bore fruit.

So Mr. Nadakattin decided to cultivate tamarind. He planted 600 tamarind trees in pits in rows, 20 feet apart. And you know what? All his trees survived!

Now, this story about Mr. Nadakattin brings up a good point. We can use our powers of observation in the same way he did. By looking around, we can observe which trees survive harsh, dry conditions.

Here in [your village, or district] what kind of trees last through a drought? Could you grow those trees on your land? And what products would they provide for you?

We can all be innovators like Mr. Nadakattin – by planting and using drought resistant trees on our land.

Source: “Abdul Khadar Nadakattin: Successful innovations,” Honey Bee, Volume 11(4) & Volume 12 (1), October 2000 – March 2001. Sristi Innovations, c/o Anil Gupta, Indian Institute of Management, Vastrapur, Ahmedabad 380 015, India.

Story #3: Trees reduce damage from drought

: What can you do about a disaster like drought? You cannot stop disasters by yourself. But you can reduce the damage they cause by planting trees.

Narrator 2
: True! Trees help to moderate the temperature. They slow the strong force of the wind during storms. Trees protect the land by holding rainwater in the ground, and their roots also hold down the soil.

Narrator 1
: And they reduce the damage caused by drought. Without trees, there is nothing to protect the ground from the hot sun, so the water in the soil quickly dries up. The wind blows away the dry, dusty soil. The effects of the drought get worse.

Narrator 2
: So, what can you do? Well, planting trees now is one way to help reduce the damage from drought. Not only will trees protect the land, but they can also give you food in times of drought.

Narrator 1
: That’s right! Many trees provide food in times of need. Coconut, breadfruit, tulip, galip, talis, okari, aila, neem, pondanus, guave, loulau and mango are a few examples. Some trees, such as baobab, tamarind and musau are especially tough and can survive very dry conditions.

Narrator 2
: It usually takes several years for the fruit to mature on tree crops. So planting trees means planning for the future. The trees you plant will help protect the land from drought now, and give you food in years to come.

Source: DCFRN package 29, script 10, July 1993.

Story #4: A community regenerates degraded land

Can a community transform a barren, degraded hillside into a lush, green forest? The answer is yes! And here’s a story to prove it.

This story comes to us from Uttar Pradesh State, in India, in the central plateau and hills region. Although the people in the story live far away, their story is familiar to us here in [your region]. Their land was deforested – most of the trees were gone. Without the trees, the soil could no longer hold rainwater. The water table dropped. Without water, farming was almost impossible.

But the people took action. Together, they made a plan. A big part of the plan was to practise soil and water conservation on the hillsides. The villagers dug contour trenches along the hillsides. In places where the soil was not deep enough for trenches, they made planting pits, and planted trees. They tended and planted many different species of native trees. They built small dams made of brick or earth — across the streams.

These dams held pools of water high up on the hillside, so the water could seep into the soil.
Seven years later, the hillsides were transformed into green. Plenty of trees were growing. The level of the water table was rising! The people were able to earn their living by farming once again.
Remember – change can happen! With the participation of everyone who is working on the land, your community can be green again!

Source: “Agroforestry in watershed management,” C. R. Hazra and Dipankar Saha, Agroforestry Today, Volume 12, Number 1. International Centre for Research in Agroforestry, PO Box 30677, Nairobi, Kenya.

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  • Contributed by Jennifer Pittet, Toronto, Canada.
  • Reviewed by Judith Killen, Head, Programme Development Unit, International Centre for Research in Agroforestry, Nairobi, Kenya.