UN-backed radio station helps Bangladeshi farmers get back on their feet

8 June 2010

A United Nations-backed radio station run by and for people living in remote parts of Bangladesh has a new programme that aims to assist farmers and fishers whose livelihoods are regularly upset by cyclones.

Villagers will broadcast vital information to support those working in the agriculture, fisheries and livestock sectors through a community radio show set up jointly by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Bangladeshi Ministry of Agriculture.

“A strong information communication system can upgrade knowledge of rural people and improve livelihoods in rural settings,” said Ad Spijkers, FAO representative in Bangladesh.

The country’s south – known as its “bread basket” – is vulnerable to climate change and recurrent hazards, having been battered by Cyclones Sidr and Aila in recent years, which together claimed thousands of lives.

Mr. Spijkers noted that Bangladesh can enhance farm production despite these challenges by introducing stress-tolerant seeds and modern machines such as power tillers and irrigation pumps.

Community-based radio programmes, he stressed, can help to disseminate this kind of information.

The radio project is part of a larger initiative of the FAO, along with the World Bank and the European Union (EU), to help Bangladesh weather high food prices and bolster food security.

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