Seventy-four percent of the world’s family farmers are located in the Asia-Pacific region, including small-scale farmers, fisher folks, and livestock producers. Small-scale food producers, farmers, forest producers, fisher folks, and herders produce 80 percent of the region’s food. According to Pierre Ferrand, Agriculture Officer and Regional Focal Point for the UN Decade of Family Farming of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Asia Pacific, “It is impossible to imagine food on our plate without recognizing the work of family farmers.” This fact is also acknowledged by governments across the region. The Philippines, Indonesia, and Nepal are countries that have approved national action plans for family farmers. Several other countries including Bangladesh and India are on their way to finalizing the plan.
Despite such a towering presence in our food systems, family farmers are not seen receiving their fair share of space in the media. Community radios, with the advantage of proximity to local farmers, are making efforts to change this condition.
AMARC Asia-Pacific is working closely with its members in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Nepal to bridge the gap with local farmers. This is being done by forging a close partnership with representatives of organizations of family farmers for discussing and identifying issues, ideas, concerns, and questions with the aim of developing radio content for broadcast. The effort is aimed at building higher awareness among the common listeners about the contributions of the farmers in the upkeep of the food supply as well as to provide avenues for local farming communities and their organizations to channel their concerns across to local and national policymakers. The fact that most community broadcasters work with national networks of community radios in their countries is instrumental in bringing this idea of nationalizing issues of family farmers to fruition.
This initiative is supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations under the aegis of the United Nations Decade of Family Farmers (UNDFF), as part of the radio campaign by ComDev Asia. AMARC Asia-Pacific is one of the founders and steering committee members of the ComDev Asia initiative.
The current phase of the radio campaign is partnering with five community radios in five countries to produce 30 radio reportages in national and English languages. Radio Pollikontho (Bangladesh), Radio Gurgaon ki Awaaz (India), Radio MMC (Indonesia), Radyo Natin Guimba (the Philippines) and Radio Krishi (Nepal) have partnered with AMARC Asia-Pacific in the radio campaign. While the campaign will run until the end of this year, the partnership forged by the campaign between the farmers and local radio stations will outlast the life of the campaign and continue to benefit local communities for a long time to come.
– Suman Basnet, Regional Director, AMARC Asia-Pacific, https://amarc-ap.org
Photo caption: Meeting between representatives of farmers’ organization and local radio station, Haryana, India. Photo: Radio Gurgaon ki Awaaz, India