August 8 is Farmer’s Day in Tanzania, and is celebrated with week-long agricultural fairs up and down the country. This year, Farm Radio International mounted an exhibition at the fair in Arusha. The fair is called Nane Nane because it is celebrated on the eighth day of the eighth month – “nane” means eight in Swahili.
The fair takes place in a large showground, and attracts a range of exhibitors, from NGOs to farmers’ groups, and from mobile phone companies to companies selling agricultural equipment.
Farm Radio International shared a stand with The Organic Farmer (http://www.organicfarmermagazine.org/) and our broadcasting partner Radio Maria (one of Tanzania’s national radio stations). We showed videos of our work in action, provided printed materials, gave out food samples and displayed the Lifeplayer solar-powered radio and MP3 player.
By the end of the week FRI volunteer, Paddy Roberts, had cooked 30 kgs of orange-fleshed sweet potato which was given out to the visitors at our stand! We wanted to raise awareness for this nutritious food among local farmers and consumers. This potato, full of vitamin A, is not grown in the Arusha area – so it was brought in from the Lake zone. Some people had not seen it before, but a lot asked where they could get planting material.
Paddy Roberts was also interviewed live via mobile phone on Radio Maria with the translation help of Japhet Emmanuel, Assistant Field Manager for the FRI Tanzania office. Those at the FRI stand could hear the interview on the Lifeplayer solar-powered/windup recordable radio/MP3 player. The Lifeplayer ran on solar power for the duration of the exhibition, airing Radio Maria programs.