I had the wonderful opportunity with the support of our partner, World University Service of Canada (WUSC), to travel to Tanzania last September 2010. Today, and in future blog posts, I would like to share some of the stories and pictures that I gathered during my travels.While driving through the beautiful Rhotia Valley in Tanzania, I happened to see a farmer at the side of the road separating seeds. I asked my driver if we could stop to ask the farmer some questions. My driver acted as a translator and through him I found out that the farmer’s name is Fatuma. She agreed to talk to us and allowed us to take her picture. I found out that she is part of Kilimanjaro Native Cooperative Union (KNCU). She told us that the seeds we see her separating are white and black beans. Her bags of seeds get picked up on Mondays and then are sold in Arusha and Dar es Salaam. One bag brings her 75,000 Tanzanian Shillings (TZS) which is about $50 Canadian. She said that she wants to take the money she makes from farming and buy a better house.
I was curious to find out if radio played a role in her life. When asked, Fatuma told me that on Saturday evenings she listens to an agricultural radio show. She finds that she learns a lot from that program. When it comes to farming, she also takes advice from the local cooperative and then talks to family and friends to decide what to do. All of this information helps her choose what crops should be grown in which month.
My chance meeting with Fatuma, made me realize the importance of the role that radio, together with members of her cooperative and community, plays to help farmers like her do their work and bring their crops to market.
Public Engagement Officer
Farm Radio International