Almost 100 kilometres from Dakar, Ngoundiane FM is a Senegalese community radio that believes in finding solutions for farmers. Ngoundiane FM joined our network of broadcasting partners in March 2020, becoming our 1,000th partner.
Since our very beginning as an organization, Farm Radio International has always partnered with local radio stations and broadcasters. Through resources like scripts, backgrounders and how to guides, as well as a newswire, and online training opportunities and mentorship, Farm Radio works with our broadcasting partners to support their work and improve their programming. We’re so excited to welcome our 1,000 broadcasting partner!
With a broadcasting radius of 70 kilometres, Ngoundiane FM listeners are located mainly in the agricultural region of Thiès. Aliou Tine has been the radio station’s director since 2016 and says there are currently two programs that specifically target farmers.
The first is called Eutou Baykatt Yior Farmers’ Space, and is hosted by Astou Mbéne Faye and broadcast in the local languages Wolof and Sérère. This program shares the experiences and highlights the challenges of farmers.
Above all, “it is an interactive programme that allows farmers to ask questions,” says Aliou. “And of course, when they ask questions, it’s to get an answer.”
This is why each episode of Farmers’ Space features regional farmers who discuss their work. When other farmers call in, they ask questions of the guests who try to answer them on-air.
This program often highlights issues of local interest. For example, a recent episode talked about soil degradation.
“We broadcast in a mining area,” says Aliou, explaining that many farmers are affected by the impact of mining on soil quality.
In this episode, guests talked about how mining is related to soil degradation, for example because of the mining residue that is blown onto surrounding fields. Always looking for solutions, the broadcaster, Astou, uses this opportunity to ask guests and listeners for their suggestions. As a potential solution, the farmers suggested reforesting the area around the mine to capture the dust before it could enter the fields.
Another episode raised awareness about an national initiative called “Sama mbay“ or “My harvest,” which promotes compost as an organic fertilizer. The episode featured a farmer who uses compost and a representative from the Ministry of Agriculture. Together, these guests discussed the application of organic fertilizer as a way to increase crop yields.
Since that episode, there has been a real change in farmers’ behaviour regarding fertilizer application, says Aliou. Many have built small stone barriers around their fields to minimize runoff and reduce the amount of fertilizer needed.
The second program is called Thiamm ak mbay or Livestock and Agriculture, and is hosted by Mamadou Faye and broadcast in Wolof. The show focuses on interactions between farmers and herders.
“In our region,” says Aliou, “these two activities coexist. Unfortunately, there are always conflicts.”
These conflicts often arise because farmers and herders cross over into each other’s area. Herders say there is not enough space for their cattle because of farms. Farmers, already facing low yields, say that they need all their land for a good harvest.
For this reason, Livestock and Agriculture raises awareness of the importance of cooperation between the two groups.
“We try to explain that both herders and farmers need the other for the success of their activity,” says Aliou.
Farmers’ products, for example, crop residues, feed cattle, while cattle waste fertilizes the soil. Aliou says that since program began, conflicts between the two professions have been reduced.
“Through this program, we have been able to make people understand … that they can live together, that everyone can do their own thing.”
It is rarely easy to find solutions to the problems of the agricultural world. That’s why Ngoundiane FM tries to engage a specialized resource person as a guest to help explain the technical aspects of each topic.
Since the station became a Farm Radio International partner, Ngoundiane FM staff have participated in a workshop where they were oriented on how to use Farm Radio resources to improve their programming.
Since then, says Aliou, they feel more capable of communicating—and cooperating—with rural listeners.
About the author
Hannah Tellier is a Radio Resources Assistant for Farm Radio International. A student at the University of Waterloo, Hannah believes the best classroom is the one we create while exchanging with others.