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Machrine Birungi

Ugandan journalist Machrine Birungi speaks to Maria Sonni-Ali about the progression of her career as a journalist and her programme on adolescence and sexual health rights in Uganda [read]

 
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InterWorld Radio newsletter | June 2006

Learning the lessons of Bt cotton

Cotton growers put the shirts on our backs. They grow billions of hectares to ensure a steady supply of cheap fabric. But crops are ruined by pests – and farmers are ruined by debt and insecure incomes. Even a small boost in yields can make a big difference. Bt cotton has been trumpeted as the crop that will give farmers more time, better health and more money.

In South Africa farmers have made progress using Bt cotton. But in India’s southern state of Andhra Pradesh, small farmers took a gamble on the seeds with some very mixed results. Now the debate is moving to cotton-growing areas in West Africa. Are there lessons to be learned?

South Africa: Material gains
Farmers in South Africa’s Makhathini Flats have been growing Bt cotton since 1998. The seeds have an inbuilt repellent against pests and are supposed to cut down on pesticide and labour, and boost profits. But there are contradictory reports about their success.


India: Picking up the threads
India’s southern state of Andhra Pradesh has been at the heart of the controversy over Bt cotton. Crop failures have led campaigners to call for the technology to be banned - but some farmers have reported success.


India: Farmers cotton on
BT cotton failed many farmers in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh - but it worked for some. Three cotton farmers from the Warangal district give first-hand accounts of their gamble with biotechnology.


Interview: Will West Africa welcome Bt cotton?
Environmental activist Nnimmo Bassey says governments in West Africa, seeking to exploit Bt cotton’s potential, are out of touch with their own farmers.


Other new programmes

Interview: Strange trees
The biotech industry is looking at ways of producing wood and paper more efficiently. But environmental campaigners such as Anne Petermann are worried that future genetically modified forests could pose environmental and health risks.


Bolivia: World’s most dangerous road
In Bolivia's northern region of the Yungas, there's only one route to get produce and people to the capital. It's been called the world’s most dangerous road. Estelle Doyle travelled along it and spoke to the people who try to keep it safe.


South Asia special

Next month, the IWR newsletter will be focusing on South Asia. If you would like to contribute your insights into the region’s radio scene, email us at .

Panos media resources

What’s stopping a wireless revolution?
For many people communication facilities are unreliable, slow and costly. This briefing explores how wireless technology could transform the situation, helps journalists get to grips with the many uses of wireless technologies and asks why governments aren’t doing more to help.


Signed and sealed?
It’s make-or-break time for the WTO's Doha trade talks. Will governments finalise a new global trade deal by the December deadline and will it be good for development? This briefing explores whether trade deals will benefit or damage people’s lives.


Antiretroviral drugs for all?
Despite a renewed focus on expanding access to HIV prevention, treatment and care, millions of people are still without. This report helps journalists to initiate debate around access to treatment issues, and provides key questions to probe the realities of antiretroviral drug provision in their own communities.

 
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Joel Okao Tema visited Chawente Primary School in Apac district to meet the children keeping an eye on the books.


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