This farmer’s life changed because of onions … and radio


Emanuel Fanuel is an onion farmer who lives at in Ngage village, in the Manyara Region of Tanzania. Before turning to onions, Emanuel grew coffee, sugar cane, maize and beans along the Usambara Mountains. Due to unreliable rainfall, he decided to relocate to the Ruvu River basin and pursue irrigation farming. Reflecting on the time before the move, Emanuel had this to say:

The big challenge I faced was lack of food. I sometimes worked as cash labourer in order to feed my children. And some [children] had to drop out of school due because I couldn’t pay the fees. That situation was terrible and it pained me so much that I had to find another place for farming.”

Emanuel now grows onions as a cash crop and is now able to provide a better life for his five children. He is able to pay school fees and feed his family, and has built a modern house in his home village. He also bought a motorcycle for transportation and a power tiller to make work on his small farm easier. Radio also provides a helping hand.

A radio program from Moshi FM has helped me so much. I’m in touch with radio broadcasters. I ask questions and they answer,” says Emanuel.

About the author
Esther Mwangabula is an agricultural journalist who works closely with small-scale farmers in rural Tanzania.  She started working with Farm Radio International in 2008 as a liaison officer for five radio stations as part of the African Farm Radio Research Initiative. Since then, Esther has been supporting FRI’s work in various capacities, including as a mentor for broadcasters in Tanzania. Currently she works as a media and broadcaster liaison officer, working to interview farmers and engage and expand broadcasting partners.

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