Notes to broadcasters
Through radio broadcasts you can encourage farmers to cultivate crops that will increase food availability in times of need. This script includes spots that provide examples of the kind of experiences that local farmers might share with your listeners about their own survival crops. You can broadcast the spots as they are, using farmers’ voices. However, if the crops mentioned are not grown in your region, use the spots as guides to prepare your own, using interviews with local farmers to discuss the crops they rely on in times of need.
ScriptBRING UP MUSIC AND HOLD UNDER NARRATOR.
- It provides food even when it isn’t tended regularly.
- It can be stored for a long time.
- It has different parts that can be harvested.
- It survives when other crops fail.
I’ll give some examples of these crops later. But first, here’s a story about why survival crops are important.FADE OUT MUSIC.
Sam was the younger brother and he was the one who planted survival crops – root crops and fruit trees. He was always thinking ahead. He knew from experience that if you don’t plant survival crops, you might get into trouble later on. He understood this because one year there had been a drought, but his survival crops provided him with enough food for his family.
Sam’s brother Joe also had a productive farm. He managed his farm in a way that he could get the highest possible yields at the end of the growing season. He earned most of his income from cattle. He also grew maize and other grains. But he didn’t grow any fruit trees or root crops.
Unfortunately, the country where Sam and Joe lived was experiencing troubled times. Eventually war broke out. And it was then that the brothers started to lead different lives – because one had survival crops, and the other did not.
During the war, many of the main transportation routes were cut off. Many markets were closed. It was difficult to get seeds and to buy food.
But Sam’s family continued to eat two meals a day. He had plenty of food stored in the ground – his sweet potatoes and his cassava. He harvested these root crops little by little, as he needed them. He harvested fruit from the fruit trees. Sam’s wife harvested leaves from dom palm trees.
Joe faced more hardship during the war. For a while he and his family were able to live on his grain harvest, but eventually that ran out. They even had to eat the grain that had been stored for seed. Joe was no longer able to buy livestock feed. And because supplies were cut off, he was not always able to buy the food he needed for his family.PLAY MUSIC AND HOLD UNDER NARRATOR.
Remember that different kinds of crops help farmers survive difficult times. We are calling these crops survival crops. A survival crop could be:
- A crop that provides food, even when it isn’t tended – like fruit trees and cassava.
- A crop that can be stored for a long time – such as sweet potatoes and grain.
- A crop with many uses – like coconut trees and sweet potatoes.
- Or a crop that survives, when others fail, perhaps during a drought.
– END –
- Contributed by Jennifer Pittet, Thornbury, Ontario, Canada.
Reviewed by Vignes Thievendaram, Agricultural specialist, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada.
- “Introducing new crops in a conflict situation: Gender roles and innovation,” by Roger W. Sharland, LEISA Magazine, Volume 17, Number 1, April 2001. ILEIA, PO Box 64, 3830 AB Leusden, The Netherlands.
- “Trees for semi-nomadic farmers: a key to resilience,” by Stephen Connelly and Nickky Wilson, LEISA Magazine, Volume 17, Number 1, April 2001. ILEIA (see address above).
- “Better food security with sweet potato,” Nicole Smit, Appropriate Technology, Volume 27, Number 1. Research Information Ltd., UK. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.