New Delhi, India (PressExposure) July 20, 2014 -- At a time when the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast a below-normal monsoon projection, due to El Nino effect, several regions in the country are likely to be affected by drought like conditions. While the weather conditions cannot be altered by human interventions, the adverse impact of drought can be mitigated by using scientific information and technology. Towards this objective, a Community Radio-Radio Bundelkhand 90.4 FM, is broadcasting special programmes to disseminate useful information to farmers and other community members to prepare them for the anticipated drought conditions in Bundelkhand region of the country. Community radio is a vibrant community broadcasting mechanism and it provides voice to the community.
Special programmes on radio
Radio Bundelkhand 90.4 FM produces radio programmes in various interesting formats like radio magazines, song drama, interview forums etc. Being a community media it performs an important role of information provider connecting remote, rural communities with established scientific experts. In the wake of likely drought condition this year, Radio Bundelkhand has started disseminating information on drought mitigation practices through its popular radio programmes like Shubhkal, which is specifically on climate changeand Khet-Khalihaan, an agriculture based programme. Another programme series Ajeevika, which talks about sustainable livelihood practices also contains information on this issue.
For more effective and live engagement with the community on issues of climate change, Radio Bundelkhand 90.4 FM has also started one-hour live show everyday dedicated to drought mitigation issues. In this live show community people are directly connected with an expert present in the studio who addresses the questions and problems faced by community people. This live show is hosted everyday from 12: 00 pm - 1: 00 pm with experts on Monday-Wednesday-Friday and on other 3 days the community radio reporters take the live sessions. Besides this, Radio Bundelkhand also provides weather updates every day to inform community members of the prevalent weather conditions and forecasts.
"At Radio Bundelkhand, we build resilience of the community to drought, we provide information in local Bundeli dialect on drought resilient farming practices, methods and techniques, give timely information about the control of crop pests and diseases, weather, market news, government schemes etc. For this purpose, talks, group discussions, folksongs, dialogues with experts and government functionaries are usually organised. We also connect with various agricultural and veterinary experts to provide scientifically validated information to farmers and other community members through popular agricultural programmes like Shubhkal, Khet-Khalihaan and Aajeevika," shares Gazala Shaikh, Assistant Programme Director, Development Alternatives (DA).
Key information being disseminated:
Use of scientific methods of irrigation like drip irrigation or by using sprinkler which are more effective ways to irrigate larger areas in relatively less water.
Selecting drought resilient crops for sowing which can yield good produce with least amount of water like barley, pearl millets, black gram, green gram and sesame seeds.
Farmers are advised to follow certain sowing methods like ridge and furrow and line method. In case farmers do not have ridge and furrow machine they are also given information on how they can easily convert their normal seed drill into a ridge and furrow machine.
Another method which can help farmers retain moisture in soil for long is mud embankments in fields. This method when combined with ridge and furrow technique becomes very useful to retain moisture as well as channelising water into the fields.
Farmers are also advised to practice Agro-forestry for a sustainable agriculture. This technique has helped hundreds of farmers increase their income considerably.
Radio also broadcast drought resilient practices followed by local farmers. These help the community members related to the village and farmer and facilitate adoption of drought resilient practices.
Geographical spread of community radio
Since a community radio can only cover limited geographical area (up to 10-15 kms), Radio Bundelkhand works with a consortium of 4 other community radio partners in Bundelkhand to maximise the reach of this information and prepare our communities for drought conditions. The other community radio, which are presently working with Radio Bundelkhand are Lalit Lokvani (Lalitpur), Radio Dhadhkan (Shivpuri), Chanderi Ki Awaaz (Chanderi) and KisanVaani (Sironj) together covering approximately 550 villages. For reaching out to villages, which are distantly located or are not able to receive radio signals due to geographical factors and hence could not listen to regular broadcasting, this information is communicated to them through narrow-casting.
About Radio Bundelkhand
Radio Bundelkhand 90.4 FM, the community radio station in Orchha, Madhya Pradesh was set up by Development Alternatives in 2008. Reaching to more than 140 villages in the region, it covers a population of more than 2.5 lakhs. Presently Radio Bundelkhand broadcasts for 11 hours from 7 am- 1:30 pm in mornings and then 5:30 pm-10 pm in evenings. This broadcast time includes 3-hours of live shows everyday.