Kenya Addresses Changing Climate With RANET

Radio service helps communities prepare for farming season and emergencies
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For years the Nganyi clan in Kenya would predict rains be monitoring the behavior of plants, birds and insects, but with the recent changes in climate behavior, this task has become more difficult.

This led the Kenya Meteorological Service to develop the Nganyi RANET system, a community radio station for areas vulnerable to extreme weather.

Five stations are now broadcasting in the country, each with a range of 25 to 30 kilometers. Listeners in that range are given free radio sets so they can hear the weather reports. Whether it be droughts, landslides or floods, RANET is helping to decrease death and prope

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rty damage for these communities.

It is also an aide for farmers, according to an article from Reuters. In Emuhaya, the rains traditionally begin in February, signaling for local farmers to start planting. This year, however, RANET predicted that sufficient rainfall would not begin until late March, so farmers delayed planting to meet this change.

Nganyi RANET also offers a digital weather station, which updates weather information every 10 minutes and automatically relays the information.

“We are reaching more people quickly and clearly,” says Samuel Mwangi, senior assistant director at the Kenya Meteorological Service. “We are also integrating this with other development issues. We are bringing in experts from the ministries of agriculture, livestock, health and education, among others, and these people can be able to enrich the forecasts which are both traditional and scientific based.”

Nganyi RANET has been in place and broadcasting in the local language for more than 10 months.


Seeds of Change for Farm Broadcasters

Farm broadcasting is a tough row to hoe these days. Consolidation of agribusinesses, family farms and radio stations resulted in a shrinking advertising and listener base, leaving general managers to defend their programming to corporate owners who may not care about farm reports.