Farmers getting the messagePhoto | A farmer stored his food in oil drums after hearing Elnilo warnings from Radio Ergo/Husni/Ergo
From September 2015, Radio Ergo started broadcasting daily information to inform listeners of the impending El Nino weather phenomenon and the high likelihood of floods. The programming included advice from various experts on what kind of plans and preparations local people could think of making ahead of the expected rains.
Mohamed Saney Awad is a 63- year-old farmer who has witnessed many natural disasters before. He lives in Hagarkah location, 50 km from Baidoa town. He told our local reporter that listening to Ergo helped him a lot and made him think about protecting his food stores. He came up with the idea of storing his food in oil drums before the onset of the heavy rains.
“I learnt about the probable effects of the heavy rains while in my home area three months ago after listening to programs aired on Radio Ergo. I then travelled to Baidoa from where I bought six steel drums which I used to store my food reserves. I have no worries now as none of my produce has gone to waste. However, some of the local residents did not manage to salvage anything at all after floods washed away all their produce and food reserves,” said Awad.
Awad said he witnessed similar storms in the area in 1997 and he lost a lot of his property. This time, he knew better.
“In 1997, up to 56 truckloads of foodstuff I had stored in silos were washed away by raging floods. After learning a lot from programs aired by Ergo, this time we were lucky to salvage everything as we removed our food reserves from our underground storages and took them to safer areas,” he said.
Adan Hassan Hussein is a trader who sells oil drums among other items in the local market in Baidoa. He said he had been selling out of oil drums, as many local farmers were following the idea of using them as food storages.
“We used to sell one drum for 300 Somali shillings but the price has doubled due to the demand. Farmers are scrambling to purchase them in order to store food commodities such as beans, maize and sorghum among other produce. We even get orders from far flung areas. Customers call, send us the money and we send them the drums,” said Hussein.