Tag Archives: farming

Why agriculture?

17 Apr

linkTV: Meeting Food Needs – Solutions from Africa

70% of the population of Sub-Sahran Africa are employed in agriculture. 80% of Uganda’s population of 31 million are involved in agriculture and as you can see from this list, agriculture in Ethiopia provides a whole host of valuable exports. The Gates Foundation has lots of similar facts and figures, all of which emphasise how important agirculture is to the economies of many developing countries, in particular African countries.

In accordance with an African Union programme, many African governments are investing more money into strengthening agriculture. But there is still work to be done.

There’s the problem of waste shown in linkTV’s video above. There’s also the plight of the ‘Middleman’ who take a share of the money that would otherwise go to the food producers. There are cultural aspects too. In Ethiopia I saw farmers driving huge herds of skinny cows along the road. I was told that these farmers see the size of their herd as more valuable than the productivity of the individual cow. Even though a smaller herd of better nourished, productive cows would really be far more cost efficient.

These are some of the reasons why agriculture is being targeted by the mobile market. As Danielle Nierenberg says huge numbers of farmers have access to mobile phones. If information can be distributed via them and farmers can connect to each other using them it could have global implications.

MobileActive.org: Mobile phones in rural development and agriculture

Let’s do this…

31 Mar

Blog post number 1.

This is where you can keep tabs on my preparations as I begin to plan my trip and my documentary. It’s all very exciting. I’m also aiming to start putting together a bit of background on my project. It’s a fascinating area and it’s getting its fair share of media attention. So keep checking back to see how I’m getting on.

Getting the website up and running has been a bit of a milestone. I’ll be making changes as the weeks go on, so slowly but surely things will come together.

I’m eager to get lots of really interesting projects on board for the radio documentary, so I’m currently sending lots of emails. More information soon, but it’s all beginning to sound pretty exciting.

Oh and I’m really pleased to say that I’ve been awarded funding for my documentary by One World Media Take a look at the link, the other students’ projects all sound brilliant, a very eclectic mix.

So, whilst I beaver away, watch this space.

In the meantime, my colleague Rebecca Novell is heading to India to make a documentary soon. Take a look at her website.

And for more on African agriculture, watch John Vidal’s report from the Gambella province in Ethiopia for the Guardian. Farming is changing in Ethiopia, as it is all over Africa. The big changes are boosting national productivity, but they’re bypassing, and even marginalising local people.