Erena Micheal dances under the hot summer sun in her colourful traditional Tanzania garments, celebrating the rice harvest with fellow farmers. She says she is now ready to sell her rice and sesame products in her village, Namatula. Hidden away in Tanzania’s southern district of Nachingwea, Namatula is a Swahili town just north of Mozambique.
With her profits, Erena says she is able to pay for her children’s school uniforms and books. Despite her hard work, Erena says she gets very little money. But that doesn’t stop her. Farming is what she knows best.
Recently, she listened to an agriculture program on Pride FM — one of Farm Radio International’s more than 540 broadcasting partners — that helped her improve her farm. Through the radio she learned about the importance of planting her crops in lines. And because of it, this year she harvested more rice crops than ever.
Farm Radio International works with local radio stations like Erena’s to develop and broadcast agricultural programs. Most small-scale farmers don’t have access to computers or smart phones. According to the Tanzanian Media Fund, the vast majority of Tanzanians get their news from the radio, with over 96% of the population making use of this medium and more than half the population using radio exclusively. It’s through the power of radio that farmers like Erena can learn.
Erena says she will continue to listen to the agricultural program during the wee hours of her sunny Saturday mornings. She hopes to take what she learns from the radio and apply it to her farm. She is saving money for the future, to be able to send her children to college.